He asked for strength that he might do greater things, but was given infirmity that he might do better things.
He asked for riches that he might be happy, but was given poverty that he might be wise.
He asked for power that he might have praise of men, but was given weakness that he might feel the need of God.
He asked for many things that he might enjoy life, but was given life that he might enjoy many things.
He had received nothing that he had asked for, but gained far more than he hoped for.
Listen to the exhortation of the Dawn! Look to this day, for it is life - the very life of life!
In it’s brief course lie all the verities and all the realities of your existence - the bliss of growth, the glory of action, the splendour of beauty:
And tomorrow is only a vision.
But today well lived makes every yesterday a dream of happiness, and every tomorrow a vision of hope.
Look well, therefore, to this day!
This great Sanskrit poem says all that needs to be said about life - whether we spend our days regretting what is past or dreaming about what may be coming. Jesus said, ‘Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself.’
A new year, however, is the time for a little retrospection. If we can look back on the last year and see where we might have missed an opportunity to do some good for our fellow beings, we can at least resolve to do more in the future. I do not mean that we all should immediately sell our goods, give the money to the poor, and live in a cave. We did not return to this Earth plane to all be like Mother Teresa.
History is full of men and women who lived selfless lives - who dedicated themselves to helping others - and today there are millions of people in the world who are actively working for others; whether they work for the Salvation Army, Animal Welfare League, Red Cross, Red Crescent, R.S.P.C.A., Police, Fire Brigade, Meals on Wheels. I include the R.S.P.C.A. and Animal Welfare because the animals need our help, too.
People who Volunteer in all the service areas of our society - those ordinary people who do not belong to any organised group or religion who, day by day, seek to help those less fortunate. Often those helpers and volunteers have very little themselves, yet they gladly share what they do have. These are the people that “make every yesterday a dream of happiness”, and there are millions like these - people doing what they can, not great works of charity that are publicly acknowledged, but little things like cleaning churches, volunteering, standing on street corners taking collections, sometimes just filling envelopes - people doing what they can to help others, with no thought other than to just help.
Australia has great material blessings, and most of us do not have to worry about food or clothing; and we have homes, be they houses, units or flats; but there are many in our society who do not have these things. You may hear people say, ‘Well, that is their Karma and we should not interfere.’ What? We should ignore those among us who do not have enough to eat; have nowhere to sleep? No. If you believe that those unfortunates are suffering under their own Karma, than it could be your Karma to help those in need; and it could be their Karma to be helped by you.
A new year could also be the opportunity for other changes:
Major corporations taking a active role in the welfare of consumers, rather than just looking at the profit margin.
Opposition political parties could start co-operating with Government parties rather than the “oppose everything” attitude that is so prevalent and so destructive.
Local Government Council Members could accept their responsibility in the care of the underprivileged and homeless.
Ethnic and religious groups could look for the similarities in their beliefs rather than concentrating on the differences.
Despite what we see in the news media, there are more people in the world doing good that there are doing evil - the bad ones get all the publicity.
So I repeat - ours is a beautiful world, and if you want to make it even more beautiful you only need to do just a little bit. Everything we do for others gives us, as Spirit has told us, another Spiritual Coin to collect when we return to Spirit. Everything: wish someone well, smile at a stranger, that’s all it takes to make every yesterday a dream of happiness, and every tomorrow a vision of hope.