2010. The arbitrary but consistent flip on the calendar causes us to pause, searching for meaning in the past, and craving better days for the future. This cultural reflection should be a daily habit rather than a yearly one, but our inability to process our own weaknesses keeps us from seeing the importance of proper contemplation.
Loss. If 2010 was marked by one word, it would be loss. Personally, the loss of companions to life changes, the loss of stability, the loss of health, and the ultimate loss of too many lives. Globally, the loss of finances, the loss of lives in war - both natural and man-driven, and the complete loss of sanity in the political arenas. The news, both from those known and unknown was full of tragedy, of weights unbearable by anyone alone. And yet somehow, we all do it alone.
Solitude. In the midst of it all, we find that as much as we surround ourselves with others, we must find some inner strength to carry on. With solitude, we find guilt, self-doubt, and loneliness. But it is through this isolation that proceeds any hope, any dream, and certainly, any peace. Regardless of one's spiritual beliefs, and regardless of where that strength comes from, it has to start in the quietness when we recognize our own limitations, that we can accept ourselves.
Change. It can come like "the thief in the night", and sometimes it is like the "watched pot that never boils." It can happen as we watch or it can happen only as we look back. But change always comes. Almost never as expected, and rarely when we think we need it. It might be cloaked in negativity and might be mistaken as another loss, hiding the opportunity that one must be mindful to catch. But change always comes - sooner or later.
Hope. The cycle always ends with a longing for something more, and the truth that there truly can be more. A new year sets the stage not for wonderful things to happen to us, but for our reactions to things to be more positive. Not that no more tragedy will befall us, but that we would be wiser and stronger to manage it, to overcome it, and not be dictated to because of it. Finally, hope is the essence of holding true to yourself and reaching out to others in need.
2011. In the juxtaposition of the horrible Tucson strategy this weekend, and hearing my unborn baby's heart today, life is too precious for anything but love and hope. Reflect often my friends. Find your own solitude. And find your way out of any negativity. May this year truly be filled with change and hope for each of you.