Friday, December 28, 2007

Good bye and Good Riddance 2007

I've been feeling a pull to write a year end wrap up of some sort, but frankly this year has ranked right up there in the top three or four all time lousy years of my entire life, and it's adversely affecting my sunny disposition. Between that and an an unusually prolonged episode of politically-oriented melancholy, I found that I just wasn't coming up with much to say. For me, writers block is one the signs of despair, and I couldn't think of a damn thing to write other than a bunch of gloom and doom.

A few days ago, a friend asked me a question related to taking initiative and personal responsibility for the state of one's government, and his question reminded me of a quote by Alice Walker, which I shared with him.

It has become a common feeling, I believe, as we have watched our heroes falling over the years, that our own small stone of activism, which might not seem to measure up to the rugged boulders of heroism we have so admired, is a paltry offering toward the building of an edifice of hope. Many who believe this choose to withhold their offerings out of shame. This is the tragedy of the world.

For we can do nothing substantial toward changing our course on the planet, a destructive one, without rousing ourselves, individual by individual, and bringing our small, imperfect stones to the pile.

I'm glad for the reminder. The quote is from an essay by Walker where she reflects on her activism, and the entire article is excellent and very meaningful to me in so many ways.

I have learned to accept the fact that we risk disappointment, disillusionment, even despair, every time we act. Every time we decide to believe the world can be better. Every time we decide to trust others to be as noble as we think they are. And that there might be years during which our grief is equal to, or even greater than, our hope. The alternative, however, not to act, and therefore to miss experiencing other people at their best, reaching toward their fullness, has never appealed to me.

Thanks, Alice. I needed that.

That first quote is what really sticks with me though. Sometimes it seems we're surrounded by a crashing, swirling tidal waves of bad news, but I try to keep my chin up. I might get a wee bit (ha) cynical, yet overall I'm optimistic. If I'd given up on the world becoming a better place, I wouldn't bother with this blog or much of anything else I do. I'll admit that sometimes, I have to search a bit to find the little crumbs that keep my own hope alive, but I generally do find them, and so you're stuck with me for now. I'm just going to keep on bringing my odd little stones to the pile.

Here's to a better 2008, kids. Cheers.


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