By Julie Lazanich

Almost a decade ago when I learned what a “bucket-list” was, I began scouring other peoples’ lists to see what was on their ultimate life to-do list. I created my first bucket list with lots of copy and pastes as a preteen who had a lot of free time and newfound access to the internet. I put big things on my list like get married, have a baby (check), and give a maid of honor toast (check). There were things of lesser significance like to swim in the ocean (check), ride on a camel’s back, and be the guest of honor at a surprise party (check).

My latest list re-do, a few years ago, was more introspective. I realized I was primarily focused on completing the list with the thought that if I did everything on it, I could look back on my list when my time came, and see what great joy doing all those things brought me and I’d be content.

But that’s not how I want to live my life.

By bucket list items, big or small.

This year, I took a different approach to resolutions. My New Year’s resolution to celebrate every day, as in as many national holidays as possible, was a way for me to find joy in all days. To not just look forward to the big or bucket list moments in life, but to acknowledge all the small celebrations we can sprinkle in to our everyday lives.

In today’s First Reading, the Lord tells us that we should share our bread with the hungry, shelter the oppressed and homeless, and remove from our midst oppression, false accusation, and malicious speech.

Translation: be better to other humans and do more for them.

My resolution to celebrate more is already pushing me towards that. National No-Name Calling Week (January 15-22) helped me curb my quick and offensive tongue, even if how I spoke was sarcastic in nature. National Compliment Day (January 24) encouraged me to be more genuine in my words towards others. National Blame Someone Else Day forced me to accept how often I accuse others of causing strife when really it’s my own fault (January 14).

As I continue my daily celebrations, I’m challenging myself to not just find joy in all things, but to follow in today’s First Reading --- to be the light so bright, that others won’t know what hit them.

May we be the first to announce “Here I am!” ready to break bread with the hungry, shelter the oppressed and homeless, clothe the naked, and to not turn our back on our own.

I’ll be the first to admit that’s a lot easier said than done, but ultimately that kind of goodness will bring me more joy than anything on a bucket list could.

This will bring glory to our heavenly Father.

If you’re looking for an action plan on how to specifically carry out today’s Reading and Gospel tasks, here’s some upcoming national holidays that celebrate these messages:

  • February 7 – Send a Card to a Friend Day
  • Feb 9 – National Stop Bullying Day
  • Feb 11 – National World Day of the Sick and National Visit the Shut-In Day
  • Feb 14 – St. Valentine’s Day, National Have a Heart Day, National Donor Day, and National Race Relations Day
  • Feb 15 – Random Acts of Kindness Day
  • Feb 16 – Do A Grouch A Favor Day
  • Feb 17 – National Caregivers Day and World Human Spirit Day
  • Feb 20 – World Day for Social Justice
  • Feb 22 - World Thinking Day and National Inconvenience Yourself Day

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

JULIE LAZANICH

Julie is a recent grad of John Carroll University and has just started a research position at Jones Day law firm downtown. Aside from working 9-5, she spends her time with those that make her laugh most, especially her almost one year old, Carter James. Julie enjoys making sure others know how much they're loved and is always trying to spread God's gift of joy around. This may often include wine, sunshine, tacos, hot dogs, and replays of Lebron's legendary Game 7 block.


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