Every New Year we all at least think about making resolutions. What can we do to make ourselves better people? Lose weight? Quit smoking? Be better parents, spouses or friends? There is something in every one of us that we can improve on. We all start the year with such high expectations and I know that we all want to do that good thing! But change is hard and it's so easy to try something for a little while and then fall back into our old routines. New Year's resolutions for the most part never work out, even with our best intentions at heart. For most of us, reality has to hit us stone cold in the face to cause us to make those hard changes and look at our lives honestly.
Richard Paul Evans has written a new book that gets to the heart of that matter. "Lost December" is a novel that deals with a young man who is forced to decide who he is and who he wants to become. The journey to become that better person is the journey most of us are not always willing to make.
What would it take for you to change your life and become the better person that you were meant to be? Luke Crisp has led a life of privilege. His father spent his life building the hugely successful national chain, Crisp's Copy Centers. Carl has taught Luke the business throughout his life and tried to instill the ideals of hard work, dedication and leadership by example. Carl Crisp is convinced that he has given his son the foundation to build a solid life built on both success and morality. Even though Luke is prepared and knowledgeable enough to come into the family business when he graduates from high school, his father wants him to experience all of life's opportunities. He encourages Luke to leave home and earn his college degree so that he can fly on his own for a few years and make his life what he wants it to be. As any parent would hope, Carl's vision was for Luke to spread his wings, and grow in spirit. Hopefully then he would make the right and mature decision to come home and use his knowledge to take over for his father as CEO for Crisp's Copy Centers.
Luke does have a successful college experience. He meets Candice, with whom he falls in love. She is a beautiful, smart and level headed woman and she seems to be meant for him. He becomes part of a group of friends that he finds intellectually and socially fascinating. As his time winds down and college graduation is approaching, Carl Crisp excitedly waits for his son to return home and take on the job that is waiting for him. Unfortunately, Luke and his new friends have other ideas about how he will spend his time after college, and his trust fund!
When his father gets the phone call that Luke will not be returning home and he is asking to withdraw the entire balance of his trust fund, he is hurt and feels betrayed as we all would. Knowing that he can't stop his son from living his own life he releases the money. However, he also tells Luke that he will no longer be there for him. Full of the impulsivity of youth and a bank account full of money, Luke and his friends set off to travel the world in first class style. Their little group lives as only most of us could dream, until suddenly the money is gone. Somehow, the friends he thought loved him so much turned out to not be friends at all. As each one abuses his generosity or just walks away, he realizes he may have made a very big mistake. As he turns to his father to pick up the pieces, he understands how grave his mistake really was.
And so Luke's journey begins to find the man inside him that he was really meant to be. Only this time, he must do it alone, without his father's guidance, love or money. As he builds his life over again, will he learn to understand what is really important? Will he learn that loving others is more important than loving yourself? Most importantly, will he learn that money does not buy happiness nor make you the kind of man that earns the admiration and respect of others?
What I loved about "Lost December" is the way it not only left me questioning my own choices in life, but I also asked myself how far I would go as a parent to help my children discover their own destinies. We all have a vision of our children growing up to be respected and loved for their unshakable character and for what they contribute in a positive way to the world. How far would we really go to help them learn the answers? If sometimes it does take sinking to the absolute depths of despair to find the answers, are we willing to let them fall to those depths?
Richard Paul Evans has written eighteen novels, each centered on people examining their lives and finding redemption when they have stumbled. One of my favorites is "The Christmas Box," and he has many other holiday themed stories that are perfect for cozy winter reading. His writing his light and pure, helping everyone find comfort in the fact that even when we have fallen, there is forgiveness and someone who loves us in the end. Reading "Lost December" will not only make you feel good, it may help inspire you to stick to those New Year's resolutions before you may have to learn life's lessons the hard way. There is the power in all of us to be better and do good. Why don't we live up to that potential now?
Recommended by Donna Nichols