by Max Niedzwiecki
Executive Director of Integrity USA
I have a strategy for New Year’s resolutions: I make between six and eight of them, with at least two hard ones and two easy ones, and I tell other people about them. If there are too many or if I keep them to myself, I’m likely to forget some. Including easier items helps me to stay encouraged. Often I repeat the difficult resolutions year after year, until I’ve achieved them. It took me six years to quit smoking.
My 2010 resolutions were:
Find ways to contribute more to The Episcopal Church in a way that feels “right:” Bingo! Since starting at Integrity USA in August I have felt a wonderful unity between my spiritual, work, and personal lives.
Read the Bible cover to cover, without even skipping over the genealogies: I grew up Roman Catholic and attended a Jesuit school, but actually knew very little of the Good Book other than the passages that are repeated in services. The books of Esther and Ecclesiastes blew me away. Seeing each element of the Bible in the larger context has opened my eyes tremendously. As Bishop Christopher Senyonjo said on a recent visit to the U.S., reading the Bible nourishes you in ways you don’t understand, just as the food you eat nourishes you.
Don’t stress out over the house renovations: I had good days and bad days with this one. Early in the year we moved into a century-old house that had been mistreated for decades. Thankfully, my partner Albert and I found contractors who were honest, skilled, and very patient.
Exercise at least three times a week: On most days, I at least get out for some fresh air.
Enjoy Mardi Gras: Here in New Orleans, Mardi Gras isn’t just a day–it’s the last day of Carnival season, which lasts more than a month. The key to enjoying the season is pacing yourself. If you try to do everything, you will collapse during the first week. I’ve learned that moderation is something you have to be intentional about in my new home town.
Here are my 2011 resolutions:
Find ways to contribute more to The Episcopal Church: This year I will do more to BELIEVE OUT LOUD. It seems that the work of a gay man (or a lesbian, bisexual, or transgender person) is never over when it comes to the hard work of being open about our lives in a loving way. This year, I’m going to focus more on opening myself to people who are uncomfortable with LGBT people, or unsure about how we should fit into The Episcopal Church.
Read the Bible cover to cover, without even skipping over the genealogies: Yes, I’m going to do it again. There’s too much in there for me to take in on the first go-through. I’ll stick with the New Revised Standard Version.
Exercise at least three times a week: I live next to a park and my gym is less than a mile away. I’m running out of excuses.
Listen to more new music: I will always love Miles Davis, Astrud Gilberto, Beck, Astral Project, Aretha Franklin, and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. But I know there’s more out there. Suggestions, anyone?
What were your 2010 New Year’s resolutions and how did you do on them? What are your resolutions for 2011? Visit http://walkingwithintegrity.blogspot.com and share them as a comment to this post.