Sunday, January 2, 2011

In With The New

The old year is fading fast from memory, much like the last snow under the onslaught of a thawing Bermuda high. As the second decade of the new century gets underway, there's a chance for us to highlight the positive accomplishments, the steps we've made in the right direction, and underscore the persistent dilemmas that confront us as a nation and as individuals.
Americans are feeling better about themselves, according to polls, more secure about what the future brings this year than last, and for good reason. The economic deep freeze shows signs of thawing at last, and congressional moves to pass some laws moving us forward reflect the self-righting logic that makes this democracy work. But Republicans are about to take over the majority in Congress, vowing to repeal health care reforms, fight the EPA's ability to curb greenhouse gas pollution and in general do everything they can to ensure that Obama does not win re-election in 2012. The more things change, it seems the more they stay the same.
On a personal level, reaching the age of fifty means making peace with some of my own limitations, at the same time appreciating the gifts that I have. As the kids get older, the joys of family life seem to deepen even as the challenges of managing relationships get more complex. Personal goals remain as elusive as ever, but new ideas bring new inspiration and new hope.
Keep on keeping on, and remember the words of 1 John 4:7-8: "Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love."
If that doesn't inspire you, think of the Christmas lesson of Play Doh. It started out as an industrial cleaner used to get soot off of wall paper. When the market went out from under it as people stopped burning coal in the 1950s, the inventors noticed that children liked to make Christmas decorations with it and re-invented the stuff as an educational aid. 
It's never over until the spark of ingenuity and creation goes out. There's more than one way to skin the cat. Just ask the makers of Play Doh, or any kid you know.

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