The year 2011 has been quite a challenging one for me as well as for a number of folks in these contiguous states and around the world. I think of the blogosphere and the various Facebook entries that entail stories of mayhem, isolation, illness, death, violence, the suffering of children, the elderly, the homeless and the recent arrivals of folks into the culture of poverty. Food bank personnel cite that many drive up in late model cars and exhibit some of the accoutrements that reflect an earlier time when they were employed and "self-sufficient". They avoid eye contact and whisper thank you as they take the boxes off the counter to their cars. They haven't yet adjusted and they're still learning survival mechanisms that many in our society have mastered over the years. There are also, many in this country who are doing well and those in the top tier are doing fabulously well. The beginning of one of the classics that I've enjoyed since middle school, A Tale of Two Cities, comes to mind and confirms that this paradox has been going on for eons and will more than likely exist as long as we do.
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to heaven, we were all going direct the other way.
With that said, we do persevere despite it all and many of us gather to celebrate all around the world. Times Square is always crowded on New Year's Eve and folks are happy for a period and hopeful. They kiss, hug, some get drunk, others dance more than they would normally, many attend Watch Service and yes some of us overindulge with our food intake.
There is one story and video that has been featured quite a bit in the blogosphere and various news outlets. It's a Love Story of grace, gratitude, compassion and speaks to that adage..it's not over until it's over. Chris Draft (former NFL star) and his wife Lakeasha who battled lung cancer were married a month before her death, December 27, 2011. It's poignant and I must say that I was deeply moved upon viewing it. Their story is worth the publicity they've received for it's a testimony to the valor and wonder of the human spirit and lends to that belief that love triumphs over all even death.One may ask how does this tie in with the message of this post. I would say that during the "worst of times" whatever the scenario or human condition; we can love and celebrate life for the gift that it is.
I truly believe that this is how we should approach the New Year.