God's New Year Wish
*Transcript of talk given by Rich Hayes at Unitarian Universalist Church in Pittsfield, MA 12/30/07

So this Buddhist monk arrives for a visit in New York City.
He's heard about the great hot dogs there and wants to have one.
He finds a hot dog stand and says to the man, "make me one with everything."
So the guy slaps a dog in the roll and slathers it with the whole works and hands it to the monk and says, "That'll be $4.50". The monk hands him a $20 bill and the guy puts the $20 in his cash draw and starts to take care of another customer. The monk says, "What about my change??"
The hot dog guy smiles and says, "Change comes from within".

I have good news and I have bad news for you.
Good news is: things are going to change.
Bad news is: things are going to change.
This to shall pass is both a blessing and a curse.

Everything changes all the time.
And that is both good and bad.
The tide comes in and the tide goes out.

We see this in our lives. We see this in our culture and society.
We see it in our businesses - on Wall Street and in real estate.
What goes up will eventually come down...

Change. We thank God for it!
Change. We curse God for it!

Considering that we're standing on the cusp of another new year,
I thought the subject of change would be a good choice as this mornings topic and I spent a few hours fleshing things out and writing them down, thinking to myself it all sounded pretty good.

Then I re-read it. There was a problem: It bored me. Not just a little. It bored me a lot!And if I was bored, why should I expect you to be interested? The problem was I was running out of time. So I knew I was in trouble. You see, I'd already committed to the title for the talk and I
really wanted to use the Buddhist joke, so it had to be about “change”.

I tried to rewrite it but nothing would come to me. No words, no thoughts-nothing at all! So, sitting in front of my computer at twenty minutes to 11 last night I muttered,
"God help me-I've got nothing! How about you???"

And to my great relief, while I might be empty, God was not.
First, She said to let you know that things are going to work out fine ...eventually.
But things have to change first, and that’s okay, because they will....they always do.
Change is part of the reason we're all here in the first place.
Some of the changes may hurt a little - and some may hurt a lot. But God said to remember that no matter what it is, it will eventually pass.
Everything does.

She said to tell you that the pain or the circumstances of whatever it is have nothing to do with any kind of punishment or judgment.

God wonders how we ever came up with such a crazy notion and really wishes we'd let it go! God says that it’s through change that we learn and grow; that change is meant to help us-
that there is always opportunity in change-always, always, ALWAYS!
(She emphasized the “always” part.)

Then She said there’s way too much fear over change....and just about everything else these days! She says that fear only makes things harder for us -that it makes us do “weird” things. And it causes us to hurt ourselves and each other. She'd really like us to get past this part of our development!

God said that we should be reminding ourselves that there is nothing to fear but fear itself. And by the way, FDR sends regards and asks that we tell the crowd in D.C. to keep their hands off Social security.

Fear! instead of overcoming it, we’re swimming in an ocean of it!
And God forbid we should forget it for a moment!

But She said that won’t happen any time soon, because there are far too many people who will remind us of all the reasons
to be afraid. They know if you weren’t afraid they might be out of a job. So, ironically, it’s also fear that holds them!

Then Her voice deepened, as she said
"Be afraid, BE VERY AFRAID....."

I was getting a bit nervous again. This wasn’t going as I had hoped.
I felt like I’d really hit a nerve with Her.

"Okay, so Fear’s a problem" I said.

She said, “IT’S
THE PROBLEM..”

Well, what do we do about it? I asked.

There was a long silence. I began to fear that I'd lost Her.

"Stop it....just STOP IT!!.....Stop being afraid. Stop making decisions based on fear. Stop signing over your life and giving your freedom away in favor of somebody else keeping you safe.
No one-
absolutely no one -can promise that. It doesn't work that way.
Stop putting off things because you are afraid you can’t, or don’t know enough, or aren’t good enough. Just stop all of it".

As She was saying this my mind started running down all the things that frighten me. But then she called me on it.
"You see-there you go again. Look at all those things!!
How many of them were REAL???"

She had a point.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve let fear stop me from doing something-something I wished I’d done, but never did. I’m not talking so much about physically risky things, but rather emotionally risky... like telling someone how I really felt about them and what they meant to me, but not doing it because I was afraid it would sound silly or they’d reject me in some way.
Or not dancing because I was afraid I’d look foolish;
or not singing because I was afraid I'd be off key and someone might laugh;
or not raising my hand because I was afraid I had the wrong answer;
or not speaking up because I was afraid what others might think;
or not telling you what I thought because I was afraid you wouldn’t like me if you knew.
All the times I feared I wasn’t good enough.

She was right. None of those things was real, unless I allowed them to be.
I was the one who had to believe in them!

"But some fears are okay aren’t they?", I asked.
“NOT if they make you a prisoner."

Again she had a point.

But the title of this talk is supposed to be “Change” not FEAR.

She said, "Fine. Tell them not to be afraid
TO change! They can do it."

She says that it’s time to let go of the things that stop you from doing what you really love, really believe and really value in life!
That you should open your eyes so you can see more, open your mind so you can learn more, and open your heart so you can love more. And DO NOT let Fear stop you!!! ( Again, her emphasis, not mine)

Remember “time out’” when you were a kid?? She’d like each of us to take a time out every day. Time out is not turning on the TV and zoning out. It’s not even reading a great book. Time out is time to be still. Time to listen. Time to stop all the “doing” and just “be” for a few minutes.

She said I should remind you that you already have all you need to do what you have to do; you just need to connect to it, and that only happens in the stillness.

By the way, She said that She'd really like you to use that special gift she gave you.

She also wanted me to tell all of you that she loves the saying you’ve chosen to post outside on your message board this month: “It’s not how much you do, but how much love you put in the doing”

She said that when you get that,
you’ve got it.

Put love in all you do, because love is the stuff of eternity.
And where there is love, there is nothing to fear.
She Wishes you all a love filled and fear-less year.