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The Best Gift to Yourself to Start 2018

Throughout the holiday season and leading up to it, I would often make the casual, polite

comment "I hope you have a good holiday." To me this was suggesting that people have the opportunity to be around family and friends and just generally enjoy each other's company. However, too many times my 'polite comment' was met with a story that there would not be contact with this person or that person because of some long-standing issue that created a sense of bitterness and separation from a friend or a specific family member or members.

I have always wondered how we sometimes let the precious time we have on this earth be consumed with anger, hatred, animosity and negativity towards others who we were once close to and with whom we had expected to interact with throughout our lives? How is it that some "little thing", a look, a comment, a failure to do something someone thought should have been done, turns into a BIG THING that now separates family or friends... often for years or even decades? [It seems crazy, but we all know it happens.] There may even be situations within your own life where this has occurred or is occurring. When we waste our time living with the pain, drama, and the bitterness of these broken, once valuable relationships, it robs us of the fullness of life. We never get back the time lost when such separations are created.

The best gift we can give ourselves is to forgive ourselves. The process of forgiveness allows for healing and should create an understanding that will set us free to be the people we were created to be.

Paul, while in prison and not knowing his own fate wrote a letter to the people of Ephesus. In that letter, Ephesians 4:1-4, he says "I therefore, the prisoner in the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, making every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace."

To me, the meaning of his words are clear... for a life worth living we need to do all we can to live in peace and harmony with our friends and family. I for one intend to start the year by forgiving myself first and then seeking to mend whatever relationships I have or know of that need mending by extending that sense of forgiveness beyond myself. I want the unwanted separation to end. I encourage anyone similarly situated to do the same.

Happy New Year!

Jim Hubbard, Elder

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