If 2016 were a person, he’d be Freddy Krueger with a hatchet, chasing us from one dark room into another while we waited for the nightmare to end, or the movie credits to roll.
Undoubtedly, this year has been grim. It’s been a year of loss for many. On the celebrity front, the casualty count was high. And we said good-bye to Hollywood royalty when Prince and a Princess hit the highway to heaven in a red corvette.
In 2016, cyber hacks were as common as a winter cold, or at least a virus. Politics became something “other” and more smelly than three-week-old fish gone to rot in the fridge. In 2016, the political scene was just that, a scene, a spectacle, a brutal schoolyard fight–but we sanctioned this one. We sactioned it, took sides, and tuned in day after day for repeated knock-downs. It became sport and along the way, we lost our sportsmanship.
Hell, some of us even joined in the brewhaha. But it wasn’t funny. Politics in 2016 brought out the worst in many of us, forcing brothers and sisters behind enemy lines.
It also shined the light on our shadows.
Between the racial unrest, police shootings and terrorist attacks, chaos was the winner in 2016.Here in Louisiana, add torrential rains and floods and you had a gumbo of misery.
And yet, in the midst of this Nightmare on Anywhere Street that was 2016, there is something else to know.
There was grace too. Oh sure, she got confused by the retro thinking and bruised by the political chest thumping, but nobody keeps baby in the corner for long. She showed up when she could. She appeared in flood zones, not on a white horse, but in a pontoon with the Cajun Navymen in tow, to rescue flood victims. She strapped on a pair of boots and overalls and helped neighbors tear rotted drywall from uninhabitable homes. She slipped her way from checkbooks into envelopes to help support causes that supported refugees, and hungry and homeless people, scattered across the globe.
Grace appeared too, though in a fiercer form to protest land rights, or political policies that go against the grain of our nation’s better nature.
Beyond grace, there is more to know before we shutter this year: Chaos always precedes transformation. Rain fertilizes us for what’s next. Light transforms the darkness. It shows us the dirt in the corners and cracks, the places and institutions in our homeland, in our hearts even, that could use a good Spring cleaning.
The media. Our political parties. Race relations. I’d say, let’s start there. But in this post-truth era, here’s some truth—these institutions or problems are a reflection of us.
Because we cannot fix our political system or any problems in our country with the same mindset, the same divisiveness, the same “us against them” mentality that created it.
If we don’t want 2017 to be another frightful Freddy Krueger year, let’s transform it into something better.
Let’s start by inviting grace back to the party. Let’s have actual conversations centered around facts, not cheap rumors. Let’s learn why people think differently and be open to different points of view. Let’s live our values but work to compromise when necessary, so we don’t end up compromising the best of our country’s values.
Let’s work to connect, and not to divide. Instead of “fighting” for a cause, and bringing the energy of discord, let’s “work” to bring change.
In 2017, let’s commit to listening, loving and working for something better. Let us rise together as we welcome the new year, remembering this: a rising tide lifts all boats.
Happy New Year!
(If you are interested in more thoughts on integrity, harmony and grace, check out my book, Tao Flashes, available on Amazon.)