If you were expecting a list of my New Year resolutions, you are going to be disappointed. I don’t make resolutions, especially not at New Year. They are, in my experience, doomed to failure. What this means is that come the 1st January I will be happily sinning my way into yet another decade. Hurrah!
It’s my choice, even though the ‘clean’ living and the ‘concerned’ among you may shake your heads in despair. My choice, my life and, to bring me neatly to the nub of this New Year rant, my business too. I’ve been thinking a lot about what we as human beings might want and need from the new decade and, in my humble opinion, it is this:
We need to mind our own business.
Simple and not the cop-out some would view this statement to be because, to my way of thinking, ‘minding our own business’ is not the same as not caring about those less fortunate than ourselves or ignoring those in trouble. We can still and must, help others. What we need, what we MUST leave out is putting pressure on those others to conform to our standards. It always brings trouble. Look at the Crusades! Look at what the imposition of Communism did to eastern Europe! Look at Osama bin Laden and all his acolytes!
Make it your mission for 2010 not to impose whatever your thing is on people who do not want it. If they ASK you, then that is a different matter. But what I’m talking about is the, admittedly very nice, man who tried to save my soul in the shopping centre of a large northern town a few weeks ago. He was very sincere, he clearly cared a lot but I did not want to know. Even when he continued to talk at me as I walked away from him, I still did not want to know. If I wish to find God, if indeed I have already found Him but want to keep that to myself, that is my business and mine alone. I will not respond to scare tactics, appeals to my ‘better’ nature or threats. And the same goes for politics. I will vote the way I feel is right for me and only very reasoned, very a-personal entreaties will have any effect upon what I do.
Missions other than what I have outlined above are, I feel, always partisan and always, ultimately, doomed to failure. Our ex-Prime Minister, Tony Blair was, if you recall, on a mission to save mankind from Saddam Hussein when he committed troops to invade Iraq alongside the Americans in 2003. That went well. Not!
So Nadel’s New Year message, such as it is from an old sinner like me, is do your best, care, show compassion, but do NOT try to change people’s heads. Let people have that little space. For some folk in our troubled world, that is the only space they actually possess.