Champagne corks pop, confetti floats, horns blow and the room erupts in the spontaneous singing of “Auld Lang Syne.” It’s midnight and a new year is ushered in around the world. When Robbie Burns penned his “Auld Lang Syne” poem in 1788, he surely could never have imagined that it would go viral and resonate throughout the world (at least the English-speaking world) at New Year’s Eve celebrations.
The title of the song means, literally, “for old times sake.” It’s a teary ballad that reflects both the regrets and hopes of human beings who, for old times sake, will drink a cup of kindness yet. With the passing of each year in our human history, years that are often marked by violence and war, we continue to live in the hope that somehow, on the cusp of a new year, we will be able to do it differently in the coming year and drink from the cup of kindness.
What would drinking from the cup of kindness look like in 2014? Well, how about this?
- How about healing a broken relationship? Revenge leaves such a bitter taste in the cup of human kindness. Better to taste the sweet flavour of forgiveness and reconciliation.
- How about curbing our lust for power and dominance? Power and the need to control others is a nasty brew that poisons the heart and destroys the soul.
- What about developing a sense of empathy and depth of feeling for the sorrows and heartaches of others? No one living in this world can sidestep the pain and heartbreak that are so often a part of our human existence. But that heartache is made ever so much more bearable when a caring ear and heart is offered, fully and freely.
- Why not give up on greed? Those who quaff at the cup of greed soon become drunken and thus cannot recognize the needs of others. When children die of hunger while the adults around them indulge in all manner of wanton luxury, the cup of kindness turns into a cup of hemlock that poisons us.
- How about adding the ingredient of kindness to every one of our actions in the coming year, so that our cup will “runnneth over” and the world will be floating on a sea of joy and goodness.
Nothing that I have written in the preceding paragraphs is particularly revolutionary or new.
We know these things, at a very deep and “heart” level of our existence. So rather than making resolutions to lose weight and stop smoking (although these are laudable goals!), let’s make a resolution to drink from the cup of kindness this year—in small and large ways—so that the world can experience transformation.
God will, I am sure, toast us for our efforts!
Blessings for 2014, Linda