‘‘Many of us crucify ourselves between two thieves – regret for the failures of the past and the fears of the future.’’ – Fulton Oursler
Another New Year is by the corner! The death of 2021 would give life to 2022. For many, it is the dawn of a new era. Men and women of God would definitely cash in on the situation to declare favours, blessings and breakthroughs for the nation. For many worshippers at various cross-over night worship centers across the length and breadth of the country, it is about expectations and declarations. Expectations of a New Year free from failure, insecurity and poverty. For others, it is a moment of declaration of goals, graces and super-abundant favours. Perhaps the number of amen(s) that would reverberate across the country are indicative of a people thankful to God for his providence in the preceding year and readiness for new beginnings in the various sectors of our national life.
While appropriating divine benedictions for ourselves may be an imperative for a new start, moving a muscle to animate such is crucial. In Christianity, faith and good works are indispensable for petitioning heaven in thanksgiving, supplication and adoration. As such, we must not pretend that mere lip-service is sufficient to drive us safely through the New Year. In the light of the above, the meat of this piece is on how not to begin a New Year.
There is the temptation to allow the flaws of last year to take the better part of us. As individuals or corporate organizations, we should not dwell on the mistakes of 2021. Crucifying yourself on the cross of the past will further increase your sorrows. Belaboring yourself on the wrongs or misfortunes of the past may lead to despair, hopelessness and self-pity. It is essential that both leaders and the led in this country shun the pessimistic approach to challenges facing this country. Brooding about lapses of security, economic hardship and democratic upheavals occasioned by an overheated polity without plans to change the narrative would lead us nowhere.
As a nation, we seem to be crucifying ourselves on the crucifix of past fears. The signs of the time as far as the political climate suggests, is that there is fear of the unknown among our people. Accusation and counter accusations between partisan stalwarts and others perceived as political rebels presents us with a polity adorned with the apparels of a monster asking ‘‘will there be peaceful elections in 2023?” This plus plans to fully remove fuel subsidies and increase the price of petrol worsens the anxiety. This nonetheless, beginning the New Year on a fearful note is not in our best interest.
As such, it would be unwise to board the plane of 2022 without a clear compass. Not having a clear vision of what we want for ourselves and our country is a wrong take-off that’s would eventually lead to rough landing. Will declaration of budgets by both the Federal and State Governments make for a take-off that is devoid of turbulence? Well, we need to concentrate so as not to miss the radar. Since the year is about to begin, we must watch carefully to nurture it in a manner that it would grow steadily, gain altitude and survive any tough turbulence.
Launching the New Year without necessary planning is starting badly. We can start by planning for ourselves, as individuals and a country. Such a plan should include our spiritual and material needs how to use our time judiciously, work hard, improve our families and contribute more to the building of society. It is paramount to include in that plan Abraham Lincoln’s timeless national-truism, ‘‘as what you would do for [Nigeria] and not what the country will do for you.’’ It will not be out of place to write down what you hope to achieve as the year rolls by. Having everything on paper and going back to it from time to time is a right step in the right direction.
Our plans and dreams ought to wear the shoes of appropriate action. Most times we fail because our plans end at the level of big dreams or because we fail to give them life. Asking questions like, what do I want? Are my heart desires needs or wants? How do I work at achieving my dreams and aspirations? Do my plans include what is for the betterment of society? Does actualizing what I have set out for myself entirely depend on my effort or God? These and similar questions will form the launch-pad for a wonderful year ahead.
In the kitty of how not to start a New Year include, seeking divine assistance without corresponding will-power for actionable plans, crucifying your dreams on the failure of the past, entrusting the future to the arms of needless fears, piloting your plane without a clear compass and lack of planning for both self and country. As we approach an election year, having a Permanent Voters’ Card (PVC) is a sine qua non. Meantime, It is hoped that Nigerians would complement the amen they will shout at the cross-over night to usher in 2022 with concrete action that would move our country forward. St. Augustine captures this beautifully when he said: ‘‘Trust the past to the mercy God, the present to his love and the future to his providence.’’ God bless Nigeria – Happy New Year!
Fr. Dyikuk is a Lecturer of Mass Communication, University of Jos, Editor – Caritas Newspaper and Convener, Media Team Network Initiative (MTNI), Nigeria.