So another year has begun. Same as it does every year and I, like most of us, wonders where the last year went. Like time is a traveler who packs up his suitcase and leaves on a whim just when things start to make sense. Just when things seem to be going along fine or at least going along.
People gather in gigantic crowds and whoop it up on New Year’s Eve but I can’t help feeling melancholy each Dec. 31st when I watch that crystal ball drop from the comfort of my living room sofa. Time seems to go faster each year ―there is a scientific explanation for this phenomenon, which doesn’t really help at all― but it’s not the speed of time passing that makes me yearn for earlier days. With the perfect vision of hindsight, it’s the knowledge that no matter what happened in past years, good or bad, we got through it. We solved some problems, or learned to live with them. We discovered new things about ourselves and the world around us. We cried at disappointment and rejoiced in victories. We know how to do last year. And the year before that. And so on until our memory fades out. Even though there are things we would change if we could, the past is over and done with. A familiar friend, and sometimes foe, unchanging and unchangeable.
This year is another story. This year is concealed behind a shroud of uncertainty. There are cliffs hidden in the fog. Wrong turns and dead ends. The road before us is vast and daunting and unimaginable. But fortunately, and ironically, the past is what will help us on our journey to the future. The past, where sometimes the world seemed to be on its last legs, gives us absolute proof that no matter what happened, we prevailed. There has never been a year that ended on a Dec. 31st with no Jan. 1st to follow.
This New Year, like every one before, is full of questions, but it is also full of answers. Cliffs can be scaled. Wrong turns can lead to surprises. Dead ends can harbor beauty. And secret passages exist in the most unlikely places that will guide us to where we are supposed to go. Last year is a page in the history books. This year is a blank page, waiting. Waiting for us to fill it with whatever we choose. Let’s fill it with compassion and understanding and respect and honor and peace and love.
But mostly, let’s fill it with the one thing that can break up the darkness and send it scurrying into oblivion. The one thing with the power to change the present, right the past and ensure that every New Year will truly be a cause for celebrating. Let’s light up the world and make it shine with the never-ending beacon called . . .
. . . Hope . . .