So much has gone wrong this year that some of us seem to have forgotten that next year is coming whether we are ready for it or not. We are going to have to live it for ourselves and build it for our children. In order to do that we are going to have to face it. What do you see when you face the future?
We currently find ourselves at that point in time where we are and have always been and where we always will be. That point in time when we are asked to choose the light or the dark. More precisely, we are asked which we will decide to see.
In the Southern Baptist community, that I grew up in, the question was, "Do we see the light of the lord " for example, or not. In other communities, the question was phrased a little differently but I am sure that every reader, no matter the cultural background or ethnicity, is familiar with the gist.
I am just one of those people that happens to see the light. I don't really choose to, it just happens. Ironically, people like me do not usually have a pulpit to preach from. Businesswise, good news about a world full of hope is not the best message to sell a product with. As the old adage goes: Sex Sells! unfortunately, hope and love do not.
Currently, the world is so full of darkness that people seem to have forgotten humanity or any sense of the divine. Fortunately, Christmas comes every year to remind us that even in the darkest days the light is coming and in fact, it's already here. It came while we were sleeping.
If you choose to find a conspiracy you will find it. If you choose to find evil, you will find it. In fact, there is nothing hiding in the darkest recesses of your mind that can not be found in the world around you. If you choose to see hate, fear, and greed, you will surely find them. They are as real as you and I and abound in the world. No one will ever question you on their existence.
If you look for them (hate, fear, and greed) in the eyes of the people around you, you will certainly find them there as well. They manifest themselves in the news on tv and in songs and stories that bombard the airwaves and thus our senses. We see them flicker in the eyes of images of those that relentlessly flicker on our screens in 24-hour news cycles.
They have a relative called love, and as simple and stupid as it may sound; if you looked for love in the eyes of the people in the world around you, it would change the way you see the world. If you choose not to judge people by the deities that they have chosen to worship, the system of government or political party they identify with, or the "ethnic group" they belong to, it would be easier to see the love in their eyes and in their hearts.
It is simply easier to see hate, fear, and greed, in the eyes of the people around us because they are almost always the loudest and they get the most coverage. They scream at us from the tiny screens that we carry around in our pockets and decorate our walls and cabinets with.
Love, on the other hand, is quiet and even when she screams at the top of her lungs we often overhear her. We do not hear her being spoken in the words of the world around us. She is quiet and always there. We hear her when people speak of their closest friends and relatives. We can hear it in the sound of their voices and even see it in the twinkle in their eyes. Some are even capable of seeing her in the hearts of their enemies.
I see a world where many people have started to realize that the fears and concerns of others should be taken seriously. I see people that have decided that in the coming year they will be more innovative and creative. I hear people rejoicing relieved to discover that even in this hour of darkness the light of democracy still shines. I see a world where the hope of brighter days has not been extinguished by hate, fear, and greed.
I know that some can not help but interrupt with reminders of injustices happening in the world around us and dismiss me as a dreamer. Well, my answer to them is, "Yes!, you are right! I see the hate, fear, and greed in the world around me". I’m neither blind nor oblivious to it.
But, and this is a big but (excuse the pun)
I see the love in their eyes too. I see that most of their fear is based on the fear of losing what they love. I consciously choose to remind them that there is love and hope in the world. I and others like me see it. You can also see it if you choose to look.
I know that I do not have ALL the answers. The system of belief that governs my world operates on one governing principle; where there is love, there is hope! I still see love is abundant enough to give cause for hope. I am aware that some people think that I am crazy for believing so.
But, I feel blessed for not believing in a deity or a system that strives to convince its adherents that there is no love and no hope.
As this year comes to a close and we prepare to break bread with those closest to us I am becoming weary of explaining to abundant people, full of love and hope, that love and hope actually exist. If you do not believe that hope exists and you do not see any evidence of love in this world, look into your child’s eyes. If you do not find hope nor love there, try searching the eyes of a neighbor's child! If love and hope are both absent in the eyes of the children that you see around you, and this fact does not stir in you a desire to put them there ( in the eyes of a child where they belong), you are probably one of those people that sees darkness.
As we say in the south "I will pray for you". I will not let you convince me that love is not real. Nor will I allow you to convince me that there is no hope simply because you do not see it.
On that note, I would like to wish the world a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
May next year bring out the best in us all!
Leonard Nimoy Slater