“I offer you this advice as a handsel for the new year upon us: be as gentle with yourself as you are with those you love most dearly, yet measure yourself against high expectations. By so doing, you make yourself into the gift those you love truly deserve.”
With those words, Jamison Branch tipped his hat, pulled on his horse’s reins, and trotted down the path toward the road to Smithville. As Branch and his Appaloosa disappeared in the distance, unwelcome tears welled up in Cash Gleason’s eyes. How was it, Cash wondered, that someone he’d met only a few hours earlier could have such insight into his own struggles? How could that man have seen the pain buried under the rough exterior that Cash crafted so carefully?
Cash glanced back at his wife, Emily, who stood at the doorway of the cabin watching her husband’s exchange with the man who had stopped by unexpectedly on the first day of the new year. She looked worried, he thought, but she couldn’t have heard the conversation. She couldn’t have heard him reveal how afraid he was that the coming year would present challenges he was unsure he could overcome. But Emily seemed to have a way of reading his emotions; she seemed to know him better than he knew himself.
[Yes, New Year, it’s more of the same snippet stuff.]