Blessed by Another Year

Last week I visited one of my favorite places for lunch–Gioa’s Deli, located across from Berra Park. They offer great sandwiches, chips and drinks. Try it, you’ll like it. Of course, Berra Park was named for the New York Yankees Hall of Fame catcher Yogi Berra. Yogi played baseball at that little park in a small Italian neighborhood on the western edge of St. Louis–the area is affectionately referred to as “the Hill.”

There are many funny baseball stories involving the famous Yogi Berra. Here’s one more. When catching a game in Yankee Stadium one day, Yogi became increasingly more annoyed by an opposing team player who made the “sign of the cross” each time he came to the plate. The day was hot and the game was slow. This guy wasn’t helping to move things along any faster. When the player came to the plate for the fourth time and he made the “sign” ever so slowly, Yogi snapped, “Hey buddy, why don’t you stop doing that and just let God watch the game.”

You know sometimes I’m like that guy who annoyed Yogi. I call upon God only when I come to the plate, only when I face a tough situation, only when I need something? My God, then, is a very distant aloof God. He’s called upon only when I need a miracle, when I need strength, when I need help. I don’t know about you but maybe I should invite God into my life on a daily basis. To know Him better would probably be a good thing.

How is your relationship with God? Are you adamant in you beliefs and unwavering in your convictions? Yes, that would be ideal, but…my world is rich in everything, except clarity in the area of faith and spirituality.  Albert Einstein once said, “God does not play dice with the universe.” Einstein accepted the notion of a Creator but was stymied with the problem of good and evil. He concluded there must be a Creator, but he agonized over  the personality of that Designer. Do you ever agonize over the personality of the Designer? At times, I do.

It seems reasonable for me to believe that we are creatures created by God. There is a purpose for our lives with eternal implications. We are not cosmic accidents with no purpose but the grave. Each person then is a unique soul. Each life then has great value. Why then doesn’t the Designer cover each of us with a layer of self-assurance and a sense of peace? As I take a close look at those I know best, I can find a few people with deep faith convictions, people with a healthy self-assurance, people filled with internal peace. These people all seem to have a close relationship with God. As I reflect on the past year, I think I would like to be more like those people. Yea, that would be good.

Who ever coined the cliché, “Life is short” certainly knew what he/she was talking about. As this year comes to an end and another begins I reflect upon how fast a year can pass.  I recall my favorite days on vacation with family and the joy of accomplishing something important with co-workers. I see clearly the connectedness of actions of the past that lead to opportunities today. I’m reminded of life’s fragile nature. I’m reminded frequently that each day counts. Everything I say and do has consequences.  I can’t replay yesterday. I can do something worth doing today.

I believe we are at our best when we’re climbing, thinking, planning, working–when we are trying to bring about something worthwhile, especially something that will benefit others. I am blessed to have such opportunities in 2011. As we bring this year to an end and begin another, I pray that my friends and family may be embraced by God. I pray that they find something worth doing, then do it with a strong sense of purpose. I pray that they have the courage to love one another, forgive one another, encourage one another, and lend a helping hand when necessary.

Happy New Year!

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