The missing Malaysian flight shook our heads and blew our minds. It’s incomprehensible to think we can have endless information at the swipe of a finger, but have no clue how 162 upright seats holding the same number of lives disappeared.
We’re still doubled over from the horrific crimes of ISIS, Nigerian schoolgirls kidnapped by terrorists, and countless hateful acts from around the world. Confirmation that humans are capable of so much evil wrenches us and takes our breath away.
Ebola brought nausea and nervousness. We masked, quarantined, and questioned, but still got sick. It makes us feverish knowing that neither our immune nor government systems can fully protect us.
Robin Williams died of a broken heart; leaving us with one. Tears replaced our laughter and left us wondering what’s behind all the jokes. Realizing that we can love and lose someone without really knowing him pounds our chest and breaks us down.
Our limbs are still recovering from all things Ferguson. We’ve pushed, pulled, and held the line until our arms gave out. Our fists are tired from shaking and our legs can’t run anymore. Chaos and violence leave us on our back, aching, exhausted, and praying for relief.
In the privacy of our corner, our own personal wounds can’t be ignored. Failures, losses, deaths, disappointments… remind us of who we are and take a toll on our body and soul every year.
After all of these powerful blows and sucker punches, 2014’s final bell can’t come soon enough. Good riddance. We blow horns, bang pots and pans and kiss the nearest partier.
But when we look closely, it’s more than a farewell celebration. It’s just as much about welcoming the next round. In between blows of the horn, we’re making plans and building hype; promising ourselves a better year.
How is it we’re willing to strap on the gloves with any bright optimism?
I’m willing because I’ve learned some new things I want to try in the next round; things I hope will make a difference.
Pain and grief have the power to discourage us, but they also contain the learning that brings a powerful hope.
Losing a huge plane full of people humbles us and motivates us to explore further.
Details of the world’s evil, though disgusting, bring a more intimate knowledge of our enemy, allowing us to design a more effective battle plan; increasing the chances of a fair fight.
Sickness teaches us of our fragility and of our need to take better care of ourselves. Certainly, we are also more aware of how one life can touch many.
Through his death, Robin Williams opened our eyes to the torment of depression and other mental illness. Now that we have permission to stop laughing long enough to cry, we are braver, healthier, and more honest.
Ferguson revealed a disease that’s been passed from one generation to another for too long. Perhaps we’ve learned more of the value of life, peace, and truth. Without a doubt, we’ve learned that we can’t hide behind our race, media, police shields, or protests any longer.
And when we take the time to examine our personal pain, we realize all of the confusion, evil, sickness, heartbreak, and violence of the world can be found within our own skin and bones – just as much as they are found across the globe -and in the guy in the other corner. Though they didn’t get a headline, our personal wounds are master teachers of humility and compassion.
This past year has brought much grief and plenty of hard lessons. Knowing what we know now, we can’t throw in the towel…
Good, intelligent grieving brings learning, and learning fosters hope.
It’s this deep-rooted hope that rings the bells around the world at midnight on New Year’s Eve.
Ring on, 2015! We’re ready.
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11