In just three days, 2017 will be here. You may be looking at this upcoming time with joy, or perhaps dread.
2016 has been a time of turmoil and chaos for many, including the horrors of Aleppo , terrorist attacks, and major changes in government which have divided many nations. Many well known and loved celebrities have died.
But 2016 has also been filled with positive things, from the elimination of measles in the Americas , world hunger has reached the lowest point in 25 years, and to the fact that manatees are no longer considered threatened.
Yet it’s interesting that we tend to focus and easily recall the negative. We can remember the horrors of war and acts of terror and death. Elections that shook countries and created distance, even hatred, among their citizens all come to mind.
It is easy for me to note the sad and cruel and awful things of 2016. These come to mind easily. However, I had to look up the positives. I didn’t know that world hunger has decreased significantly or that significant environmental milestones have been reached.
Did you know that pandas are no longer endangered? The world has made major environmental strides, homelessness is down, and many more good things.
Today when I googled the phrase “the worst things that happened in 2016,” eight links popped up on the first page. Unexpectedly, only two of those were negative.
It’s a fact that we remember the bad more than the good. But that doesn’t mean that we can’t recall the good, especially in our own lives.
Perhaps you’ve suffered a death of a friend or family member, lost a job, or been subjected to racist or sexist violence. Maybe relationships have been strained or severed.
The election results may have caused dread, or even fear. Your soul may have been crushed, your body failed, illness caught, finances destroyed. You may have lost a beloved pet, became homeless, watched someone you love suffer.
But consider the good of 2016, You may have had or adopted a child . Your faith may have grown, your finances increased, or you discovered the joy of giving to others.
Maybe you were the recipient of an act of kindness, or you survived a tragedy, or were healed of a sickness. Relationships may have healed or been created.
Joy may have been experienced, love may have been found. You may have read a book that changed your life. You may have experienced a miracle. You may have been happy with the results of governmental changes or elections.
It’s not that the bad things in 2016 are to be ignored. They should and need to be acknowledged. Pain should be named and expressed. Hurt and loss and sadness are real, and not to be simply covered up. A bandaid does not heal a bullet hole.
Life is balanced. Not completely of course. But to name the bad and ignore the good is wrong. To name the good and ignore the bad is wrong. Sorrow may cover up joy. But all of these feelings and experiences and occurrences are real.
So my challenge for you, and for myself, is to remember the bad and embrace the good. Notice the terror of war through a young girl’s twitter account, but see it bring attention to a crisis that has been ignored for too long.
Be raw, be real. Open your eyes and your ears; make yourself feel. Be present in the moment, experience both the joy and the pain of the past.
Most of all, be compassionate, because it is both a way of understanding and acknowledging the pain, and taking the action to do good.
May 2017 bring you joy, strength, hope, and all that is kind and good. Be compassionate to others, and experience the compassion given to you. Happy New Year and welcome 2017.