On New Years Eve, people all over the world celebrate the dawn and hope of a new beginning.

One never knows what lies ahead, at the cusp of a new year. One thing is certain: there will be both joys and sorrows.

I could never have predicted the year I have had. 2019 has been full of the unexpected. So much unexpected.

As I reflect on the good and the bad, the disappointments and the happy surprises, I am simply thankful.

Thankful to be alive. Thankful I am able to walk, think, speak, write, sing, laugh, read, communicate, and do some sort of meaningful work. I am thankful I have food to eat, water to drink, clothes to wear, a place to live. I have so much more than this, I am not in want of any food or drink, clothing, and my shelter is more than enough.

I have a large bouquet of pink poinsettias given by a neighbor, which brightens up the space in front of the brown brick fireplace.

I am gazing at colorful lights glowing on the Christmas tree.

A soft, cushy carpet rests under my feet, and I am wrapped up in a blanket on my sofa, typing. The house is extremely quiet (too quiet at the moment).

And of course, there is much more than this. I am thankful for family and friendships, new and old. For new work.

I won’t go over what is wrong and difficult right now. Except to say that one very difficult thing is a debilitating illness of someone close to me. This illness pains me, threatens to choke me, suffocate me. And I’m not the one who is ill. But it is horrible for the other person, and for me. I wish I could make it all go away. I can’t. There isn’t much I can do, except whatever is in my power to do, offer to help ease the pain, the discomfort. I wish I had a magic pill. I don’t.

So the eve of this new year is a bit painful for me. I know hardship still awaits ahead; the only thing I do not know is exactly what type of hardship.

Yet even amidst that, I do still have hope, I believe in goodness, in mercy, in love, in something good out of bad, something good out of ugly illness. It’s hard for me to see right now, because this illness looks like all kinds of evil to me. But yet I know, even that can be redeemed, something good can result, something beautiful can be born.

So amidst tears, I also join the chorus, and say thank you for years past, the good and the bad, and look with hope to the years ahead.


Ring Out, Wild Bells
by Alfred Lord Tennyson

Ring out, wild bells, to the wild sky,
The flying cloud, the frosty light;
The year is dying in the night;
Ring out, wild bells, and let him die.

Ring out the old, ring in the new,
Ring, happy bells, across the snow:
The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true.

Ring out the grief that saps the mind,
For those that here we see no more,
Ring out the feud of rich and poor,
Ring in redress to all mankind.

Ring out a slowly dying cause,
And ancient forms of party strife;
Ring in the nobler modes of life,
With sweeter manners, purer laws.

Ring out the want, the care the sin,
The faithless coldness of the times;
Ring out, ring out my mournful rhymes,
But ring the fuller minstrel in.

Ring out false pride in place and blood,
The civic slander and the spite;
Ring in the love of truth and right,
Ring in the common love of good.

Ring out old shapes of foul disease,
Ring out the narrowing lust of gold;
Ring out the thousand wars of old,
Ring in the thousand years of peace.

Ring in the valiant man and free,
The larger heart, the kindlier hand;
Ring out the darkness of the land,
Ring in the Christ that is to be.




photo credits: unsplash