Happy New Year!

Reagan’s 4 x 6” Cards and Five Messages on a Coffee Cup

December 24, 2012 

          I was looking on my shelves for a book about President Reagan called Notes.  He kept 4 x 6″ cards and some of his great speeches were attributed to notes he kept on those cards.  He always had them with him.  On reading this book I switched from a lifetime habit of carrying 3 x 5” cards carrying to 4 x 6″ cards. Reagan was right. I can get down the main points in one of Father Steve’s sermons, the latest on a discussion of the fiscal cliff or the best quotes from a presidential debate on just one card.  Thank you, Ronald Reagan.

As I was hunting for the Reagan book I came across a gift from my sister and her husband, Peggy and Zeus Stevens from Salem, South Carolina. It was a dark blue coffee cup onto which Peggy had written 5 messages. I am thinking that those five messages and a stack of 4 x 6″ cards would give just about as much as a person could chew on in the year ahead. Here were the messages:

“Blessed are the flexible for they shall not be bent out of shape.” I could never read this message too often.  The tendency to want to control is so deeply embedded in me.  It is embedded in others, of course.  It controls the hearts and minds of our “leaders” in Washington and I imagine it leads to an occasional scuffle in your home too. 

“Denial is not a river in Egypt” is another important truth and one often sees little posters to this effect. Oh, how we tend to overlook our shortcomings.

“Give until it feels good” was also written prominently on my mug. I worked on a stewardship committee of the St. Anne’s Episcopal Church years ago and this phrase was a part of that campaign.  I like this way of deciding how much to give to a church, a cause, a waiter or a waitress.

Peace” “” is such an important word. It seems at times to be so far off.  Almost impossible it would seem when one looks at the conflicts facing nations, people of different religions, and even people of different denominations within the same religion (certainly it I true for Christianity). But as a New Year begins it is something each of us can pray for and work to accomplish. And finally as I turn my little blue mug around I find that my wonderful sister and brother-in-law have placed the suggestion Go with the flow.” I do love that one. Next time I feel angst creeping in I will try to acknowledge the new source of stress, take a few deep breaths and then try to cool it and go with the flow.

Reagan’s 4 x 6” cards and the words on my rediscovered blue mug will give me more than enough to work on in 2013. 

Happy New Year to you!

Robert A. Hatcher MD, MPH
Professor of Gynecology and Obstetrics
Emory University School of Medicine
Atlanta, Georgia