A Hell of a Year

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

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Well, friends, it's been a hell of a year, has it not?  We swore in a new president (may the powers that be keep him healthy, brave and clear-headed), trudged our way through the marshes of financial chaos and near collapse, saw a resurgence of environmental concern (can I get a hallelujah!), and gave up more of our young (and some old) to swine flu than we care to think about.  So here we are, at the end of the year, the end of a decade.  Many of us are standing very still, possibly in shock, wondering what in the hell that was all about.  Wow.  Hell of a year, my friends.  Hell of a year.

In microcosm, the people in my world, be they in my town or elsewhere, have seen more upheavals crammed into this one year than seems to be strictly normal.  I don't know what the astrologers or news casters will have to say to sum up 2009, but from what I've observed, it's been a long, hard haul all the way up the mountain.  Now we just need to remember why we came this way in the first place. 

There have been so many disappointments.  I have raged my own wars and found very little solace.  The clich√© it's been an uphill battle is almost too weak to be truly apt.  I have seen people give up on life, give up on their dreams and their very own souls.  Thankfully, I have also seen people pushing and punching and cat-clawing their way out of their self-destructive holes, fighting for purchase, fighting for their figurative and sometimes literal lives.  The fighters have made me proud, so proud I've wanted to cheer right out loud (with tears in my eyes, aye).  The ones who seemed to have given up have left me with a deep sense of sorrow and pain, but they may find their way yet… they're still alive, and while one still breathes, there is always hope. 

So now, a sense of settling dust, a moment to catch our breath and reflect on what just happened. 

We're here.  We can say that much.  And many of us have fought the battle of our lives.  (So far.  It's never good to push Fate too far on that score.)

Of course, as a society, there's still much work to do.  There's always work to do to clean up after a big upheaval.  But at least the way is getting clearer.  What's next?  In simple terms – clean up our messes; learn the meanings of love thy neighbor, harm none, and whatever other tenants and morals you live by that will require you to stop and consider your next move before you make it; and know thyself.  It's time to refocus and renew our personal vows, those things we believe in beyond all else.  It's time to be true to what moves us and makes life worth living.  And to remember that while we still breathe, there's still hope.      

On that note, let’s raise our glasses and ring in the new decade.  To life.