UPDATE: Here's the post written by my son, Justin, that inspired me to think about my own New Year's resolutions.
It's been five years since I retired from my day job as a legislative staff member in the Michigan House of Representatives. It's time for me to take a serious look at where I've been, what I've done and where I want to go.
I realize that at age 63, it's important for me to pick what I want to concentrate on wisely. I've got more life behind me than I do ahead of me. That's just a reality.
What's my baseline for deciding where I want to spend my thoughts, my efforts and my passion? That's changed over the years pretty dramatically.
All my life I've been a person filled with passion to help make the world a better place, especially as it related to the things I experienced. For me, it was my single-mom who was married right after World War II, had me, and then had by dad disappear to never be heard from again.
Back then, the world was not kind to women in that position. Social services were almost non-existent. Churches, the place where you'd expect love and help for a person in that position, were no-shows when it came to practicing what they preach. And public officials, at least the one's from the local city hall, kicked around single moms like they were an old almost deflated soccer ball.
That's why I became a newspaper reporter, got involved in politics at a variety of levels and spent a good chunk of my life as a staffer in our state legislature. I wanted to make things better.
Well, you can see what happened to the news business. Politics is ripe and overflowing with individuals who are interested mainly in themselves. Oh yeah, I got involved with the church. Religion as defined by the contemporary church can be toxic to individuals.
After experiencing the ultimate reality show of daily living, I have come to the conclusion that the answer is in none of those.
It rests with my relationship with Jesus Christ. That's not a popular thing to say. Some will point and say, "Wes, you've gone extreme." No, I haven't really.
There's nothing left. There's nothing that really provides hope that lasts other than that relationship which requires faith. This is my starting or continuing point if you will for the next period of time. The Bible verse, the word as stated in God's book:
Acts 20:24 (The Message)
there is another urgency before me now. I feel compelled to go to
Jerusalem. I'm completely in the dark about what will happen when I get
there. I do know that it won't be any picnic, for the Holy Spirit has
let me know repeatedly and clearly that there are hard times and
imprisonment ahead. But that matters little. What matters most to me is
to finish what God started: the job the Master Jesus gave me of letting
everyone I meet know all about this incredibly extravagant generosity