Thursday, December 31, 2009

New Years Resolution

A few weeks ago, a friend of mine preached a terrific sermon (which you can listen to here), drawing from the book The Art of Possibility. One of the authors, Benjamin Zander, teaches a class on Interpretation at the New England Conservatory. He starts each class by announcing that every student will get an A. The only requirement is that each student write a letter, dated the following May, that tells in as much detail as possible what will have changed in them because of this class.

The students may, if they wish, mention specific goals reached or competitions won. "But," I tell them, "I am especially interested in the person you will have become by next May. I am interested in the attitude, feelings, and worldview of that person who will have done all she wished to do or become everything he wanted to be."

When the class was asked a few weeks later how they felt about this, one student from Taiwan responded this way:

In Taiwan, I was Number 68 out of 70 student. I come to Boston and Mr. Zander says I am an A. Very confusing. I walk about, three weeks, very confused. I am Number 68, but Mr. Zander says I am an A student...I am Number 68, but Mr. Zander says I am an A. One day I discover much happier A than Number 68. So I decide I am an A.

In her sermon, my friend preached that this is the essence of the gospel: you have the A. How are you different because of it?

After all the moaning I did yesterday about my strange decade, I realize I'm still trying to decide that I am an A. Not because of any goals or achievements, but because of the person I am becoming. I think it's going to take me a while to believe it, but I also think it's true. The A is a given; now what will happen as a result?

My resolution is not to live up to the A, but to relax into it, trust it's there, and see where it leads me. I'm looking forward to continuing to explore that with you.

Happy new year, and blessings for 2010.

3 comments:

motheramelia said...

Happy New Year, Laura. Being an A is for everyone.

Laura Toepfer said...

Happy new year to you, too!

qoe said...

Loved The Art of Possibility. Read it the year it came out, and gave copies to all my friends for Christmas that year.

Happy New Year!