Monday, December 21, 2009

End O' the Year Missive:

I will be the first to admit that the latter part of the first decade of the third millenium left many people wondering just when they got dumped off the Merry-go-round. Unemployment, foreclosures, bankruptcy, became household watchwords of despair. Several people have even gone to far as to say this decade was worth less, feign to say "how can it get worse" and are either hoping for better in the next year, or at least want to forget this one.

That is where the idea of "beauty is in the eye of the beholder" really comes into effect. Forget this past decade, or this past year? Yes, we need to do what we can to create a better year overall for ourselves, our communities, our country, but if at the very least we don't learn from our mistakes, how can we grow from them?

But more than that, I beg to differ that the decade of 2000-2009 was one to forget. While there were moments of "less than ideal," every day brings its own challenges; "Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof" (book of Matthew) has been my mantra for several years - focus on today, and let today take care of itself first. In this light, I embrace the challenges we've had, and I look forward to more to come in the new year. Why focus on the negative, when all this is ephemeral; we are so limited on time, let's focus on all the good of the past ten years.

Why? Why would I welcome something that could be so detrimental? Because in mine eyes, the past ten years are ones I want to remember until the moment I leave this earth. And if the next ten are half as wonderful, I will one of the most fortunate people on earth. For this was the decade that saw the birth of my daughters; the ability for us to purchase three houses (not all at once, of course); moving back to California; the making of life long friends; the establishment of great careers; the wholeness of our family; the growth of my children into strong and beautiful young people; vacations; celebrations of birthdays, holidays, and accomplishments galore. These are the moments that will forever burned into my mind, and when the challenges arise, it is memories like these that will carry the day.

Yes, we've had hardship this decade too, loss of a father, sickness and hospitalization, death of a pet, financial insecurity, job loss . . . but these things happen all the time. But to want to forget those - then how can we grow and learn from those events? Every decade, every year, every day is filled with challenges - the Chinese have a saying, "May you live in interesting times," which is a threat; it means may you have much upheaval in your life. And who doesn't? But what we do and what we focus on during that upheaval is what makes life "good" or "bad," not the events inherently.

For those of you for whom the past decade has been one you just want to forget, you have my sincerest sympathies; however, I beg you not to forget that decade. Don't decry it as the worst decade ever. Think instead of the joys of that decade, no matter how minor they are.

From my perspective, sitting in my warm house, listening to the sounds of my children playing, waiting for the glory and joy that is Christmas, I don't feel the last ten years have been a loss, a decade to forget. On the contrary, these ten years are engraved on my mind for all time, and I hope that others also find the joy in the past ten years. Yes, we want to make the next ten better in many respects, but in my life, I don't know if I could handle that much joy.