09 Jan 2018

New Year Goals

Merriam-Webster defines a goal as “an end toward which effort is directed” or “the terminal point of a race.” It’s a place we’re headed…a destination we’re striving for…an arrival point reached only by an intentional level of investment, exertion and perhaps good old-fashioned faith. A goal is different than a resolution, which is simply a firm decision to do something. I’m not opposed to resolutions, they have their place. But, I’m a destination kind of girl. I like to set my sights on where I’m headed and then chart the course for the best way to get there. In this New Year, it seems fitting to set some goals.
Our family watched the movie Bruce Almighty over the holidays where Morgan Freeman as God, reminds us what one of the big secrets to goal setting is. He chastises Jim Carrey, the rebellious and skeptical star of the movie, for not understanding that true miracles happen when others invest their time and energy in those around them. One of the best lines in the movie (and in my opinion one of the best movie lines of all time) is when “God” tells Bruce, “You want to see a miracle? Go be the miracle.”
The movie is a great reminder of how many miracles we have happening on Nantucket all the time. The countless organizations whose tireless volunteers devote their time…and in many cases their life…to serving others in our community and around the globe. It’s awe-inspiring that on a tiny little island in the middle of the ocean people can so clearly see outside their own lives and truly desire to put others first. You will be hard pressed to find a single person on Nantucket who isn’t serving the island and its people in some capacity as a volunteer. That fact is a miracle of its own.
Every non-profit organization on the island is goal oriented. Their boards and leadership have a clear idea of the needs of the people they’re representing. We are an island, after all, so the importance of charting a course and identifying a destination is well understood. It’s how a new hospital, police station, public school building and Boys and Girls Club have been constructed in recent years. It’s also how hundreds of thousands of dollars have been raised to assist locals with everything from end of life care (through PASCON) to weekly meals (through Meals on Wheels and others) to protection from domestic violence (through A Safe Place). Once the “destination” is identified…whose life needs our effort and influence…the goal of how to get there becomes much easier to establish.
While personal New Year’s resolutions are admirable, the big work of bettering our neighborhood and community will best be achieved by setting collective goals. As we work together on Nantucket this year to improve infrastructure, upgrade water and environment quality and enrich programs, systems and activities…we will lighten each other’s loads, see lives transformed and likely enjoy a few miracles along the way.
Be the miracle.
Shellie Dunlap  
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