I’d wanted to write something profound to begin the new year…but profundity seems beyond me.

Hope is uppermost in my mind. Hope for the future. As I read posts on Facebook and elsewhere, I am hopeful and encouraged by the number of words of encouragement. Indeed, everyone is tired – of the pandemic and the impositions it has posed, of politics, of every kind of evidence of greed and exploitation, and of the problems within our country becoming worse because no one can agree, on anything it seems.

Today as I scrolled through entries on Facebook, I was encouraged by many wonderful tributes to Betty White. I saw a post that mocked an uneducated person’s spelling, and I was proud of those who commented, speaking up to say that, basically, the person was doing the best he or she could.

Isn’t that the sometimes-elusive goal for which we all strive?

I marvel at the diversity that surrounds us all – from physical characteristics, to cognitive abilities, to the ways in which people choose to live and interact with one another. Just as when one studies nature, or the workings of the human body, I find it overwhelming to recognize the intricacies of nature and how very perfectly one aspect interacts with and, indeed, complements the other.

No, everyone is not born highly intelligent. Nor do we all have smoking hot bodies. Some are cranky, some are kind no matter what crosses their path. And yet, we all get the privilege of living here, to commune with a Higher Power, and to experience nature and life – as best as we each are able.

Thus, I return to hope. Over the last few years, I think we have come very close to seeing the worst we can imagine. We have floundered. We have lost faith in one another. We have come close to giving up. Yes, we are tired. But, friends, we are all better than this! In fact, there are many out there who do, and will continue to, stand up against adversity. We have not lost the goodness in our natures. We have not lost hope. We have only turned down a rocky path.

My hope for 2022 is that there will be many who recognize the goodness around us. My hope is that they have the courage to speak up and to act as they truly believe. I look forward to new leaders to help us find our way. I look forward to experiencing new solutions to old problems, and to those who have the ability to use those solutions to further better our country. Heaven knows there is much waiting to be done! May we look upon one another as treasures who, no matter our abilities, have something to offer, and may we always strive to make those offerings our very best.  

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The Prisoner's Prayer Book

Louise is author of The Prisoner's Prayer Book which evolved as she became a volunteer in prison ministry. Retired from a career in social services, Louise resides in Michigan's Upper Peninsula.

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