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Happy New Year!

As I (Brooke) sat down to write these words knowing they will be sent out on January 1st, I took a sigh of relief. Somehow I feel like we can all give ourselves permission for a fresh start.

In mid-December I was guided to the People's Choice Awards and Simu Liu, who won the action film star of the year award. During his acceptance speech he said that in college he majored in accounting and finance. One day it occurred to him to give himself permission to pursue what he loved, which was acting. Obviously his speech left a mark on me to remember it for this long.

I pondered, what element do I need, to give myself permission for a fresh start? I recalled an interview with the comedian Michael Junior. He said as a teenager he had a job in one of those fast oil change places. One of his responsibilities was to go down into “the pit”. Of course the cars would drive over this part, and much of the time he was covered with grime and grease, but he always tried to do his best.

The assistant manager was racist and often would tell him to go down to the pit because that is where he belonged. One day as it turned out he was working on a car and he heard his dad's voice. His Dad just happened to be the national general manager of the whole chain of this particular fast oil change place. Michael said from where he was doing his job under the car he was completely hidden from above, but not only could he hear his dad, he could see a little bit of his shoes. His dad called the assistant manager, berated him for his racist behavior, and fired him on the spot. Michael had not ratted him out, but someone else had made sure that the inappropriate behavior could stop by reporting it. Michael Junior says that to this day when circumstances make him feel like he is in a pit, he remembers that his heavenly father from above is handling the situation, although he is mostly invisible.

I have remembered this story several times, when I felt like I was in the pit. I would love for all of us to give ourselves permission to experience our integrity, because our father from above is advocating on our behalf.

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