Charles Dickens wrote the following in The Tale of Two Cities:
“It was the best of times,
it was the worst of times.”
2016 has lived up to this apt description. 2016 with its additional day for Leap Year gave an additional day for life to unfold on the road of life.
As is often the sad reality, there are those who began this journey on January 1, 2016 who have passed the confines of this planet traversing the cosmos. We have suffered the loss of loved ones, friends and colleagues.
The rich and famous as well as the infamous of the world have suffered the same fate. However, it is because of those who were close to us that we feel the harsh sting of death.
Of course there were moments of joy. Social media filled its pages with the pictures of the young enjoying life, and we celebrated birthdays, graduations, weddings, births, holidays, retirements, etc.
At the same time the pictures of the horrors of misery, suffering and death were projected on the screens of life. Perhaps in suffering there are lessons to be gained.
The never-ending election cycle with its post-election drama and trauma was a daily intrusion into our lives. For many this is all that they could focus their attention on even when there were birthdays, holidays, etc.
Some souls became social media martyrs when opposition to the outcome gave them their 15 minutes of fame. They embraced the old Irene Cara song Fame:
I’m gonna live forever
I’m gonna learn how to fly
I feel it coming together
People will see me and cry
I’m gonna make it to heaven
Light up the sky like a flame
Unfortunately, these individuals will not live forever, will never learn to fly and a flame eventually dies as will their martyrdom on social media. Getting to heaven, that’s a theological discussion.
Their obsession with every post and comment added a dimension to 2016 which had not been seen in previous years. After a while we grew weary of the bombardment of their Facebook, Twitter, and other chatter about the election, especially post-election.
This is not to dismiss their frustration and disappointment. However, the sesquipedalian post-election election comments 24/7 just added fuel to this incessant burning dry-wood fire.
There comes a time to let it go and move on with one’s transient life on this planet traversing the cosmos. Make no mistake—life is transient as we have seen on the news and in our personal circles.
What will 2017 hold for you, your family and friends? One can make numerous resolutions and I wish you all the best on those resolutions.
Hopes and dreams are intangibles which give meaning to our daily journey. Perhaps, we should view 2017 as a book with 365 blank pages.
“We will open the book. Its pages are blank. We are going to put words on them ourselves. The book is called Opportunity and its first chapter is New Year’s Day.” Edith Lovejoy Pierce, English poet
Only you can write your 2017 story. May it be glorious!
Remember to help those you meet on your 2017 trek. May December 31, 2017 find you and yours in good health.
One last thought:
As you prepare to embrace 2017, the words of a grieving husband and father should help you write those daily pages in your book:
“Love those closest to you a little stronger. Hold them a little tighter. Don’t take a single moment for granted.” Michael Reed lost his wife Constance and two daughters Chloe and Lily in the December Gatlinburg wildfires.
G. D. Williams © 2017
A Tale of Two Cities
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–
in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of
its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for
evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.
Michael Reed’s Letter
To the 2 teenagers who started the wildfires…
People stop me on the streets everyday and ask me the same question: “What can we do for you?”
My answer has been the same every time: “Love those closest to you a little stronger. Hold them a little tighter. Don’t take a single moment for granted.”
As I learned of your arrests last week I sat in silence for a very long time. You may be too young to understand this, but even through this tragedy I can feel God with me and my son. I have felt my wife and daughters touch me from Heaven. I have seen them give me signs that they are looking down on us. They are happy. They are at peace. They are together.
As humans, it is sometimes hard to show grace. We hold grudges. We stay angry. We point the finger and feel we have to lay the blame somewhere. It’s human nature and completely understandable. But I did not raise my children to live with hate. I did not teach my girls or my son to point the finger at others. John 8:7 says “Let he who has not sinned cast the first stone.”
Forgiveness isn’t for you. It is for me. It is for my son. It is for Constance, Chloe, and Lily. It is for this community who all lost so much in this tragedy.
I, as well as countless others, have been changed forever because of your actions. It is up to you to seek God’s forgiveness. I hope someday you can seek it and be at peace.
I forgive you. My son forgives you. My wife and beautiful girls forgive you. We know you didn’t mean for this to happen. We know you would take it all back if you could.
We will pray for you. Every day. We will pray for your parents and your family members. Every day. We will pray for your peace. We will show you grace. Why? Because that’s what Jesus would do.
The greatest of these is Love.