I’d love to write “I woke up this morning feeling hopeful for a better year”…but I can’t.
I mean, obviously, I did just write that, but it’s in quotes so as to give you the impression that it wasn’t actually something I’d said.
“I’m Sorry” for confusing anyone.
The harsh reality of January 1st, 2017 is that I’m not hopeful. I didn’t wake up on the other side of the new year feeling refreshed and ready for 365 days of kickassery. I didn’t wake up this morning drinking a full cup of Carpe Diem and I certainly didn’t think I’d be writing about hope as I poured coffee into my mug and sat down in front of my computer.
But here I am, Drinking my coffee with milk in an attempt to not be a psychopath this year and typing away at my keyboard attempting to think of something to write.
My wife is laying in bed with our cats probably looking beautiful in the way only the people you love can look in the morning. The house is clean…ish. The Packers are playing for the NFC North Divison title and the holidays were filled with family and food and fun.
So why do I feel like this? Why does a perfectly lovely ending to 2016 and a very “Hallmark-y” beginning to 2017 make me feel like this?
I don’t know. I mean, I’m sure I do. If I really wanted to dig into the depths of my mind and pick out a few key pieces, I’m sure I could. And I’m certain you could too. In fact, I think if we compiled a list of all the things that hurt us in 2016 there would be quite a few people in this country with similar items on it.
And maybe that’s why I’m feeling this way. I live in a country that is the most openly divided I’ve seen in my lifetime. Which, at 30 years I admit, isn’t a long time. But it’s still a truth. I say openly because I’d be stupid to think that these sentiments didn’t exist beneath the surface or out of view for a long long time, but since the middle of the year and especially after November, the ugliness has come to the forefront.
More than a few people are afraid of what 2017 will bring, and what makes it worse is that many of us are afraid of the same things…even if we don’t call it by the same name.
But fear doesn’t equal hopelessness. Or, at the very least, it doesn’t have to.
“If you look for the helpers, you’ll know that there’s hope” Mr. Rogers once said. And now, more than ever, I have to believe that’s true.
Fear has always been a part of our world. But that hasn’t stopped great people from standing up, despite it, and fighting back. Those people are the ones who give us hope. The ones who rush in when everything looks bleakest and do whatever they can to help.
But like Mr. Rogers said, the news doesn’t always shine a spotlight on those people so they are often hard to see…but they’re there, we just have to find them.
Or better yet, become them.
It won’t be easy. I’m tired and angry and scared and it’s not always easy for me to see what path to take to do the greatest good. But if I can help, in any way, I have to.
Because it’s not about just me. It’s about us, and our future and I’m willing to look for hope in that.
Happy New Year everyone.