A Holiday Homily: Being Who We Are

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Holidayfamily

A good friend recently asked me a rather thought-provoking question: “Who will Eric Herman be in 2020?”

On one hand, that might seem kind of a silly thing to ask. After all, like everyone else on the planet, I’ll simply be me. But when I thought about it more deeply, the question resonates on a profound level. While no one can predict the future (and, frankly, my crystal ball has been on the fritz for years), we all get to decide how we greet the year ahead, whatever it may bring.

We choose who we are in terms of our attitude, philosophy, effort, the things we choose to say and not say, how we spend our time and apply our energy and focus and certainly in our compassion and our gratitude. Do we make the world a better place and strive to improve our lives and the lives of others? Or do we only ever respond to what the moment brings us? 

If you’re like me, we’re always works in progress. I personally take comfort in the fact that each new day is an opportunity to be the best I can be and rise to my own expectations. Some days I get there and others not so much, but the chance to improve and thrive in the given circumstances is both a comfort and an inspiration, always. 

To be sure, the holidays can provide a fertile field in which to reflect on such lofty and deeply personal questions. As we gather with family and friends, welcoming new members into our tribes and remembering those no longer with us, it’s natural to consider who we are in the scheme of things, great and small, and what’s most important in our lives.

At least, that sure happens to me during the holidays. I burst with pride over the people my children have become and are still becoming, and I count my lucky stars for my amazing wife, Diane. I reflect on a lifetime of memories with family and friends, and I give thanks for the bounty of experiences, good and bad, that have sculpted my character thus far. All of it inspires and empowers me to welcome the future, and treasure the present. In fact, I’ll go so far to say that these thoughts and emotions are among the greatest gifts I receive during the holidays, that and the presence of those I love so dearly.

It’s also true that there are bittersweet memories tinged with regret and sadness, even feelings of loss and, dare I say, failure in some ways. It’s all part of who we are, embroidered by the narratives, lessons and scuff marks we carry with us. As I grow older, I find that so many things in life I once cared about, often foolishly so, have fallen by the wayside. Ahh, but those things that remain — family, friends, love, work and charity — they become like an armload of precious crystals. The value of time and attention rises while the noise of momentary distractions vanishes into thin air.

To all of that I say that if we live our lives with open minds and open hearts, as time goes by, we can become more of who we are. And isn’t it nice to always believe our best days and richest experiences remain ahead? I sure think so!

So, in many ways, yes, I know who I’ll be in 2020: an even more grateful man dedicated to the pursuit of happiness, love and even a little bit of success along the way, based on hard work and, in my case, a somewhat offbeat way of looking at the world.

But that’s just me, who will you be in 2020?

On behalf of all of us at AQUA Magazine, I wish you joy, comfort and hope during the holidays and beyond. Merry Christmas, happy holidays and a wonderful new year!  

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