Time Magazine refers to it as “The Decade from Hell”. With terrorism, endless wars, an economy out of control, we can look back ten years with lots of regrets. Our 24/7 media has made a living of milking the sad stories and making celebrities out of people who want their illegitimate 15 minutes of fame – like the balloon boy family, White House Crashes, and so many others.
I’d prefer to see the cup being half full. Amid so much pain and suffering, I look back on the 2000s with eye on the incredible generosity expended throughout the US and the world. When Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf States, the donations were unprecedented. When the Asian Tsunami hit, aid poured in from all point of the planet. Yes, 9/11 changed our lives forever. We are more fearful of what might happen, but, what an outpouring of love and support resonates 9 years later. This is not your father’s world, and we are asked to live our lives differently. Part of being different is being passionate and compassionate. Today, it is not unusual for high schools and college to require community service learning.
A month ago I mentioned the meaning of Christmas. While there is joy in giving gifts to family and friends, the greatest pleasure lies is in helping people we will never see or meet. As we contemplate 2010, make resolutions that help you personally, but also think of ways to can impact your neighbors — here or around the world. I am reminded of a quote from Albert Schweitzer that sums it up for me:
At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.
As you make plans for 2010, be that spark in other lives. Be well and have a very Happy New Year!