The year just passed was a real “doozy.” Yes, there were many good things to affirm and celebrate, but 2015 was also a year marred by fear, hate, violence, and nasty political posturing and rhetoric. We wrestled with (or avoided) legitimate concerns about climate change, poverty and income inequality, safety and security, homelessness and the plight of refugees, racism (and a host of other -isms), and the continued slaughter of black men and youths. Yes, 2015 is better left behind, and I pray we’re wiser for having lived through it.
Today we embark on a new year. The months and days stretch before us unseen beyond the horizon of the immediate; we stand at yet another fork in life’s road. Sure, that old, familiar road we traveled in 2015 is an option, but this year I’m hoping we’ll tip our hats to Robert Frost and take the “road less traveled.” I’m hoping we can legitimately wish one another a Happy “No Fear” New Year.
Banishing fear is a theme speeding through cyberspace today; I’ve seen blog posts, articles, and social media commentary aplenty in these fresh first hours of 2016. Maybe there is hope for a “No Fear” New Year; at least there’s a chance of a year with less fear and more love of neighbor, including the stranger, the sojourner, the “different”, and the “enemy”.
We, you and me and all of us, have the opportunity to make 2016 a decidedly better year. I invite you to join me in focusing on some or all of these issues in 2016:
- Important political elections are at stake that demand our thoughtful actions and votes. We may not agree on platform or candidates, but we dare not ignore or remove ourselves from the process. We need to be in respectful conversation rather than sling mud and hate.
- Refugees, homeless poor, society’s outcasts, and marginalized citizens invite us to enter into relationship and work side by side to make the world a better place for all people (Hint: the relationship piece is crucial).
- Our black brothers and sisters are exhausted from being told their lives matter and living a starkly different reality. Yes, we need to pray for justice, but we also need to act.
- Income inequality and poverty are real. Everyone deserves a chance at a decent standard of living. Children deserve to live in safety, to be fed, and to have a decent education and hope. Can we put aside our prejudices and fears enough to hear the stories of others and enter into relationship with those who are living in poverty?
- Our planet is stressed beyond capacity thanks to our wanton consumption and disregard for the natural world. Might we make 2016 the year of taking some individual steps to change our habits? Might we work to change policy and encourage others to do likewise? Want an easy way to start? Consider participating in The Month of 100 Things, the brainchild of Dawn Rundman. Here’s the link to last year’s Facebook Group. This project is “low-hanging fruit” to start de-cluttering and simplifying your life in 2016.
Last year was a bad year for blogging due to an overly busy schedule, so I hope to spend some time writing about these 2016 foci and invite you to hold me accountable and journey with me. This is as close as you’ll see me get to resolutions. In the meantime, blessings to you and yours. May you enjoy a “No Fear” New Year.
Photo: WxMom, Creative Commons. Thanks!
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