Larry Buford

*No matter how many New Year’s resolutions you make and try to keep, if you have no vision of who you are and what you want to do, you’ll fail every time. I’m of the notion that resolutions must be tied to purpose. Vision is what ignites purpose and drives us toward our goal or destiny. Where there is no vision, people perish.

I recall as a child two things that fascinated me: sound recordings and the printed page. At an early age I envisioned hearing my voice singing one day on sound recordings, and my writing on the printed page. Those two things became constant determiners in a lot of my decisions as I was growing up. There were times when family and friends would say let’s do this or that, and I would decline. I did not want to do what everybody else was doing. I wanted to be to myself. I wanted to know who I was, and what I was about. I wanted to get lost in my thoughts; to create.

I still have some songs and stories I wrote way back when. Some things I wrote seemed to confirm and validate me as a writer. I wrote my first ‘news article’ when I was ten. I was an honest reporter – maybe too honest. I wrote about the day I skipped school and courageously showed it to my parents. Of course they did not share my enthusiasm and I got my butt whooped. I wrote short stories and poems.

Now for sure there was no infringement involved, but in 1969 I wrote a song called “I Can’t Stand The Rain” as an answer to The Temptations’ “I Wish It Would Rain.” Not long after that, singer Ann Peebles had a release on a song of the same title, and the reasons she gave for ‘can’t stand the rain’ were similar to mine. That same year I wrote a song called “Going Out The ‘In’ Door” – a phrase (or variation of) that I’ve heard other artists use over the years including singer/musician Prince.  A title and melody “You Created A Monster” came to me in a dream and when I awakened I immediately went to the piano to work on it. Months later, singer Millie Jackson had a smash on her own self-penned title of the same. There were other coincidences like that along the way all of which told me I must be on to something.

I’m using these examples to show how early on I knew what I wanted to do. Yes, others thought I should do this or do that, but I resisted and stayed focused on my vision. I did not want to be distracted. Even when my mother would interrupt me while I was writing to tell me to get something to eat, I did not stop – the writing, the creativity was my sustenance, and nothing else mattered. What’s your bailiwick?

I can relate to the response Jesus gave to his disciples after his encounter with the woman at the well. When they were urging him to eat he responded, “I have meat to eat you know not of. My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to do his work” [John: 4:32, 34 KJV]. Jesus set the example for vision and purpose all the way to the cross. His “meat” was in the doing, in the deed. The Book of Hebrews 12:1, 2 [KJV] says in part: “…let us lay aside every weight…and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith…”  Now if you feel peer pressure, or that others are infringing on your time, Matthew 5:37 [NIV] says, “Simply let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No…’

The point I’m trying to make is once you have the vision, once the goal is in sight, determine for yourself that you’re going to get there come hell or high water. Regardless of past failures or negative circumstances, stay true to your vision, stay the course, and keep your eyes on the goal. You know the story [Matthew 14:29 KJV]: Peter was walking on water until he took his eyes off the goal (Jesus), and when he began to sink he called out and Jesus saved him. If you don’t know your purpose, if you can’t see the vision for your life, ask God to show you; to reveal it to you. If you do know, and if on your journey you should fall or lose your way, call upon the one who saves. He’ll pick you right back up and get you started again. That’s the resolve; the resolution we should all come to everyday, not just at the turn of a new year. There’s a new you coming everyday, and the best is yet to come!!  Now…Happy New Year!!


Larry Buford is a Los Angeles-based freelance writer. Author of “Things Are Gettin’ Outta Hand” (Steuben Pub) Available at Smiley’s Bookstore in Carson CA, and Chaucer’s in Santa Barbara CA. Visit the author at (213) 220-8101