August 6. “Although no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending.” (Carl Bard)
I was in the 7th grade, and it was sometime in the second of 4 marking periods. My teacher that year was someone for whom I had a lot of respect. Being in Catholic school, I had the same teacher for most of my day. Because of my respect for her, and because I had made changes in my life since the 6th grade, I really wanted to do well.
At the end of the first marking period, my grades were good but not great. Then I had some behavior problems in the classroom. I was always one who could not keep his mouth shut when it wasn’t my turn to talk. And, believe it or not, I had a sarcastic streak. I don’t remember what happened in particular, but I had been in detention in school, and in trouble at home.
I came in one morning and went to my teacher’s desk. I waited a moment until it was just the two of us in ear shot, and I told her that I was sorry, and that I was “turning over a new leaf”, and things were going to be different. She looked at me and smiled, but with a hint of suspicion. Not that she doubted my sincerity, but that she had reservations about my resolve to really be different.
For the rest of that marking period I worked hard at my studies, and at my classroom behavior. When we came back from the Holiday break, and finished the first half grades, I had earned straight As. At the same time a year before I had mostly Bs, a couple of Cs, and a D. The turnaround was complete. From there I went on and had academic success for the remainder of grade school and high school.
What I learned in those middle-school-aged years was that there was always a chance at redemption. No matter what I had done in the past, every day gave me the chance to turn over the new leaf. Sure, there were consequences of my past actions, and there were some opportunities that I didn’t have as a result, but the future was still open to be written.
This understanding of the power of the re-start has served me well in life. Like everyone else, I have made mistakes. Sometimes the mistakes had fairly dire consequences. But more times than I can remember I have sat and taken stock of my situation and made the commitment to accept the past, and change the direction of my future.
In my opinion there are only two elements necessary to change the course of my life and influence my future to be what I want it to be: Hope and Resolve. As long as I have hope that things can be the way I desire them to be, and have the inner resolve to make that vision a reality, then I can do anything. If either of those elements is missing, then I will continue on the momentum path of life without making the necessary changes.
This morning my reflection is on those two elements, Hope and Resolve. There are always areas of my life that I want to improve, paths that I want to alter, in order to write the future I desire. Armed with abundant hope, and a healthy dose of resolve, I know that I can write the future I want.