The New Year is a special time of hope and optimism. We celebrate surviving another 365 days in this crazy, chaotic world, and we look forward to a better future.
It is estimated that 164 million US adults make New Year’s resolutions each year (about 64.6 percent of the population). They resolve to do things differently in the year ahead – to make positive lifestyle changes and set personal, life-changing goals.
If you are planning on making New Year’s resolutions, we wish you success! But for this blog post, we want to go beyond individual goals, and think about goals we can set for ourselves as a community.
Just as individuals can make improvements and create a better future, so can an entire community, when those individuals work together.
To get there, we are making three New Year’s wishes for the community of Michigan City and La Porte County this year.
Wish #1: Empathy
Our first wish for our community is that we can develop and cultivate a greater sense of empathy for those around us.
Empathy is roughly defined as the ability to understand and share the feelings of another, and it is a trait that will make our community stronger.
Especially when you’re talking about populations like the one that we serve – the homeless – there is a lot of misunderstanding. People may judge or make assumptions without attempting to truly understand.
And it goes beyond the homeless too. Empathy is a gift we can give to everyone we encounter.
That grocery store worker scanning your items. The nurse taking your temperature at the doctor’s office. The person delivering your Christmas cards and packages. Everyone in our community could use a little empathy, so our first wish is that we see more of this important trait in our community.
Wish #2: Love
Our second New Year’s wish for our community goes a step beyond empathy.
While empathy is the ability to understand the feelings of another, love is a reaction to those feelings of empathy – an outpouring of kindness, care, and concern for the other.
Love is so important that Jesus gave it to us as a new commandment:
A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. (John 13:34)
So, what does it mean to love one another? Although love can mean many things, it is perhaps best explained in the verses below, where we get a full definition what what love is in God’s eyes:
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. (1 Corinthians 13:4-7).
In a nutshell, love is putting away all our negative reactions and choosing kindness instead.
An increase in love will surely benefit our community in the New Year, which is why it is our second wish.
Wish #3: Action
Our final New Year’s wish for our community takes the idea of love and defines it further.
Because when we think of love, we often associate it with feelings.
We see love as a positive feeling or a connection you have toward something or someone.
But, in fact, love is more than that because love is an action.
Love is demonstrated in what we do for others, so our third New Year’s wish for our community is that we see more of your love in your actions throughout the year.
We invite each of you to think about what you can give back in terms of your time, treasures and talents:
- Time: Do you have time to help out those in need, whether it is volunteering at a nonprofit or helping out your neighbor?
- Treasures: Can you share your treasures – money, goods, or resources – to help others?
- Talent: Do you have skills and experience that could be put to use helping others?
Our Get Involved page has details on the ways you can share your time, treasures, and talents with Interfaith Community Pads.
And it’s not just us – our community has many nonprofits that are doing amazing work and could use your help.
These three wishes – empathy, love, and action – will help us become stronger and more connected in the New Year, and we would love to see that happen in the community of Michigan City and La Porte County!
From all of us here at ICPADS, a warm and happy New Year to you and your family!