Looking ahead to 2017 rather than behind to 2016

Back in the day… (Have you grown as weary as I have of that term? Apparently not, you might be saying…) I digress -- back in the day, when I was a staffer here at The Chronicle, one of my favorite chores was the last issue of the year, when we would run the Top 10 stories of the year in Laurens County, from our perspective. There were a couple of reasons for that -- number one, since I did most of writing for the paper at that time, it was a chance for me to share all over again some of my wonderful work (tongue planted firmly in cheek, but not in those days). Second, it was an easy story to write, given that they had already been written -- my problem was, as it was when I wrote the story to begin with, I had a difficult time limiting the amount of information I included. I was the kind of reporter who took copious notes and thought what I had to say was important enough to share everything that I had written down. That’s why God made editors and Larry Franklin. For several years, we made the Top 10 stories of the year a staff-wide effort. I would put together a ballot for everyone to look at and review, then staffers would assign a number to each of their top 10. Each number of course would result in points being awarded and we’d compile the points and come up with the Top 10. It was quite an elaborate endeavor. Larry and I would then sit down, discuss the top vote-getters and come up with the final list. It was the closest thing I can remember to a democracy during my days at The Chronicle. Since Larry always had the final say on the Top 10 stories, I suggested one year that we form an electoral college to come up with a more accurate version of the results. But again, I digress… So now, years have passed and I’m not doing Top 10 stories anymore, but I do take this time to do what you might call a personal inventory. Most of us, when we’re looking back over the past year, will likely list significant accomplishments and trials. As I’ve grown in my faith over the years, I’ve come to realize that it’s not always the big stuff in which God uses to draw us closer to Himself. It is those little things that we have to be mindful of during our journey and pay attention to so that we can become the people who God has designed us to become. If you haven’t done so, I would encourage you to perform a personal inventory -- surveying your priorities, the way you treat others and how you touch the lives of others. Most importantly, I would encourage you to evaluate your personal relationship with God through His Son Jesus Christ and how that impacts your priorities, the way you treat others and how you touch the lives of others. This time of year is one when people like to make resolutions to improve themselves and their lives in the coming year. People also are fond of breaking those resolutions. I’m not a fan of resolutions, but I would encourage you to pray over and pursue those things that will draw closer to God. Trials, tribulations and tragedies will still come in this life, but that pursuit could cause you have to handle whatever comes your way with that “peace that passes understanding” and allow you to experience more contentment and less drama than ever before. Happy New Year! (Rick Hendricks is a former editor/writer for The Chronicle and works as a Chaplain for Hospice Care of South Carolina.)

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