New Year offers new challenges, new opportunities and new hope

Published 11:55 am Wednesday, January 3, 2018

It’s a new year!
With it came cold and brutal temperatures and a whole list of New Year’s resolutions. Among them the vows to eat less, exercise more, and an array of other good intentions aimed at making us better persons.
New Year’s Day is a marker in time that expresses our need for a fresh start. As English essayist Charles Lamb put it, it is every man’s birthday. It’s an opportunity to put the past behind us and hope for better days, prosperity, and goodwill.
There’s nothing to distinguish it from any other day of the year, except it is a holiday, a day off from work and school, a day of parades, parties, and for some, football.
If we had a wish for the New Year, it would be that we could become a more united country, absent the bitterness, anger, and political divide that has separated so many. It would be nice to see those divisions put to rest.
We live in the greatest nation on this earth. This past year saw wildfires on the west coast, deadly storms and flooding along the Gulf Coast, and a very cold end to the year as much of the nation was in the grip of sub-freezing temperatures. We experienced heartbreak more than once as lives were lost during senseless shootings. Yet, we saw the good of humanity as people stepped forward to help those in need. They were in Houston, Texas, and in the Florida Keys to rescue people from flooded homes. They were in California to fight the forest fires that swallowed acres and acres of land, houses, and the keepsakes of families. In both the floods and wildfires many escaped with only the clothes on their backs.
There is a lot wrong with America, but there is a lot of good, also. Oftentimes, it takes the bad to bring out the best in people.
The year 2018 begins as an empty slate with nothing but a sense of good things, and possibilities and hopes that we can only imagine. The year will soon be tested as are all years. Already, the calendar is filled with activities, promises and commitments, pleasures and disappointments, work, play, and school. As with all years, babies will be born, there will be marriages, and death will steal away someone close to us.
As we hang a new calendar and get into the habit of writing 2018, it is a time of new beginnings, a time to make necessary and beneficial changes. A new year can be just as powerful a motivating force as a new job, a new relationship, a new home. It can also be a good time to break with harmful patterns of the past; to release grudges and forgive, to say “I’m sorry” and to move on.
2018 will be a busy year. Much of this year’s discussions will take in the political realm. There will be a local and state primary election this year and election days in August and November. It promises to be an intense time. Whatever your political leanings, we urge you to study the issues and vote. Every single vote can make a difference.
The new year will bring changes, as every year does. And though change can be challenging and uncomfortable, they’re a necessary part of life. We need to face them head on.
The new year offers a new beginning, a new resolve, new hope, and new opportunities. We must seize each opportunity and resolve to make each day the best by doing something good for someone else. If we do that, we will done have our best to make this a better community and world.

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