The opening line to “By My Side” from the musical “Godspell” is a phrase that comes to mind at the start of a new year.

While many look to the new year with joy at the chance to begin anew, others look at the road ahead with fear and trepidation.  If we find ourselves in company with the latter, let us recall the the first words that Saint John Paul II spoke to the public after his election to the papacy – “Do Not Be Afraid.”  These were the same words the angel said to the shepherds over two thousand years ago at the birth of Jesus, and the same words the angel said to Mary when he greeted her at the Annunciation.

It is the lessons learned from our past and our decisions made in the present that will determine where we are going.  Recalling the motto of the Seton clan of Scotland (from which came St. Elizabeth Ann Seton), “Hazard, Yet Forward,” our road may not be smooth – but we must continue our journey in fulfilling out God’s plan for us.

As sales champion Jeffrey Gitomer puts it,

If you really want to know where you’re going, you have to understand where you’ve been and recognize where you are.  Where you’ve been, or the past, provides you with knowledge and experiences, successes and failures, as well as opportunities and obstacles.  Where you are, or the present, is what happened during the past 30 days, what’s happening today, as well as what’s going to happen in the next 30 days.  Where you’ll be, or the future, is a combination of your experience, your being open to opportunity, your goals and dreams, your tolerance for risk, as well as your determination and focus.

These first week of the new year might be a good time to reflect on where you’ve been and where you are in order to determine a course for the future.  If you need some inspiration – take some time to rent the movie, “The Pursuit of Happyness,” starring Will Smith.  Based on a true story, it shows the power that a dream possesses – and it also shows that no one’s going to just hand you your dream.

Jesus’ mission was to show the world the power of God’s love, and we know what happened to Him.  As His followers, why should we expect our road to be different?  By following that road, we can also look forward to the rewards it brings.

© Michael V. Ziemski, SchoolAdvancement, 2007-2022 (Original Publication Date: 20070101)