CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- As we move into a new year, we see before us a clean slate -- an opportunity to right the wrongs of the past year -- and the majority of us vow to make the most of our new beginning.Upon reflection, some of us may feel that it's vitally important to discover the real meaning of our existence, especially those who are older. Typically, until now, we've simply been too busy living to think about such things. But now that our children are on their own, our lives have slowed from a mad dash to a stroll, and we find that we have more time to reflect on life's purpose and wonder if we've done anything worthwhile, or if it was all for naught.We still have hopes and dreams, but sometimes doubts creep in, causing us to question the validity of our ambitions.When this happens, we must look beyond any so-called limitations such as age, resources or timing and remember that our dreams are God inspired.And He has blessed us with the talent to create and accomplish whatever we set our minds and hearts to achieve.Deep within each of us is a center of peace -- a quiet strength that gives us the power and energy to pursue our dreams. We each have unique abilities and strengths. One person may create a striking work of art; another an exceptional computer program; still another a melodious piece of music, and yet another, a cordial home that others take pleasure in visiting. Our work is an expression of who we are as we use our mind, physical capabilities and actions to create something of value in the world.
Still, possessing a talent goes much deeper.The ability to make others feel special, to help someone, to show compassion: These are talents, too, and are available to us at every stage of our life -- not just when we're young. But since our society doesn't hand out praise or monetary rewards for gifts of character, we think because we don't possess some obvious ability like singing or playing a musical instrument, we don't have talent. Instead of looking at the gifts we have and using them to the best of our ability, we get caught up in comparisons and disqualify ourselves because we weren't blessed with the same talents God gave someone else.Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., said, "If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of Heaven and Earth will pause to say, 'Here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.'"We must never let our perceived inadequacies be a handicap. Give them to God and they will become His opportunity to demonstrate His power operating through us. He would never have a chance to help us if we were always self-sufficient and capable of meeting every challenge.He has a way of turning our lives in directions we didn't even know existed. And He often works through us to accomplish His goals. By surrendering to Him, we can see amazing things in ourselves and go well beyond the potential anyone thought we had.Just do your best and God will do the rest.Happy New Year!Horton is a writer who lives in Nitro and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.