I'm usually not anxious for the page to turn on the calendar. I've begun to realize there are more years behind me now than ahead -- and why should I want to add to that imbalance?
But I'll make an exception for 2011. I'm ready to shake the dust of 2011 from my sandals and move on. I'm hoping for better in 2012 on all fronts. Not expecting, mind you, but hoping.
After the Last Supper, Jesus went into the garden at Gethsemane to pray. He knew what was coming. Still, He asked His Father -- you know, just in case -- if it was at all possible, whether He might yet avoid crucifixion. He concluded, though, "Not My will, but Thine."
It's a prayer that's been a comfort to me, when I've remembered to say it, many times recently.
As a male, as an American, and particularly as a lawyer, I want to be in control. I want to control my destiny. But I've been forced to realize that so much is beyond my control. I can do the best job I can for the client. I can't make the appellate judges read my brief. I can charge a fair price. But I can't make the client pay the bill. I can serve my clients honestly and faithfully, but I can't make them hire me for the next matter (particularly when I can't even get the judges to read the brief).
I can't give up -- that's yielding to despair -- and it's pathetic. But I can give up control. I can do what I can do. After that, not my will, but Thine.
I never could run. My Youngest Son runs a couple of miles just to get loose. I had to run a mile in gym class in high school and the battle for last place was between me and the grossly obese kid. He usually finished ahead of me. And I hadn't then been a smoker. I ran like I was wearing high lead boots.
And I haven't gotten any better at it since, I assure you. I feel this morning like I'm trying to run in high lead boots in ankle deep sand. Some days are worse: I feel like I'm running in neck-high water. This is why I am so tired. I am fighting everything. My practice. My bills. My failures. Because I can't say -- and sincerely mean -- not my will, but Thine.
The Internet gives a Protestant theologian, Reinhold Niebuhr, credit for this prayer (though good Catholic boy that I am I keep trying to tie it to St. Francis instead):
Courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference.
I want you to know -- I want me to know -- I'm working at it. I'm trying to work at it, anyway. Not my will, but Thine.
Merry Christmas to you and yours.