More wishes and resolutions to start the new year

COFFEE WITH WARREN, with Warren Harbeck
Cochrane Eagle, January 9, 2002

Last week's column drew many wonderful responses. The first is from northeast of Edmonton:

DEAR WARREN: Throughout my career as a teacher, who also conducted and accompanied school choirs, Let there Be Peace On Earth was always on our program. Your last column transported me to those wonderful times with my pupils, who never failed to put heart and soul into singing this inspirational song.

My resolution, year after year, has been to become more compassionate and empathetic. I still have such a long way to go, but the look of love and concern for their fellow beings on the faces of those school choirs never failed to renew a resolve which still resonates within me today. Your timely words have touched me deeply this first day of 2002, and I want to thank you for this message and all the others which have come into my secluded home on the prairies.

—Winifred Schroer, Smokey Lake

Forgiveness is akin to compassion, according to another of our coffee companions:

DEAR WARREN: In your column last week you said your new year's resolution was "to be a more compassionate person." My own new year's resolution is quite similar: to be a more forgiving person. This is a resolution I have been driven to by personal bankruptcy.

Nine months ago, shamed and bewildered, I finally had to admit I was hopelessly in debt.

The day I stepped into the office of the bankruptcy trustee was one of the worst days of my life. I fully expected to be severely judged and found wanting.

To my amazement, the trustee did not judge me at all, but was most compassionate, as were all to whom I owed money. From the moment I filed for bankruptcy, I received nothing but sympathetic support from all concerned.

Without adding to my humiliation, they lifted a load off my back I could no longer bear.

I learned how good it felt to be forgiven – to be set free.

Now that the bankruptcy is about to be discharged, there remains only one debt I'm obligated to repay: to forgive others as I have been forgiven.

And that's why my new year's resolution is to be a more forgiving person.

—Name Withheld

Finally, this gracious wish from a regular at our table:

FOR THE YEAR of 2thousand and two I wish you the gift to see old things as new a treasure of smiles a trove of playing I wish you true vision in all peoples' sayings.

Personal fulfillment, dreams that inspire I wish you Jacob's ladder to climb higher and higher Books that will read you and the reading of good books a gift of deafness to gossip and blindness to mean looks.

Days that have meaning and meaning in days a spectacular vision upon all that you gaze Roads to the high road and the path less travelled the strength of compassion when souls come unravelled.

Personal pleasure in the ones you hold dear a smile, a kind memory, no traces of fear a connection with G-d that you have most wanted Hopeful beginnings and endings not daunted.

Peace for your spirit and peace for mankind always looking forward not longingly behind friends who walk in when all others walk out Messages of courage and nothing of doubt!

2thousand and two hugs, respect and quiet times All that will connect you to life's unique finds time to dance and time to pray time to cry and just time in each day.

A year of 3hundred-and-sixty-five songs a year to forgive all those who've done wrong a year to reflect and play in the sun a year that will remind you that growing old is fun.

—Sandy Corenblum ©, Calgary

© 2002 Warren Harbeck

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