Peace did not prevail on Earth in 2009.
Justice did not roll down like waters in a mighty stream.
Barack Obama did not save the world in 11 months.
There was reason to cry everyday for people all over the world - in Gaza, Baghdad, Kabul, Killeen...
Children continued to die in Pakistan, Peru, Zimbabwe, and New York from hunger and hunger related diseases - one dead child in the world every 5 seconds.
We found no bottom to the economic downturn in this country, and no jobs for the many eager and unemployed people we all know.
We fanned smoldering fires of hope for most of the year and fought feelings of betrayal, disappointment, and utter despair.
I did not land the perfect job, unearth a new calling, publish a piece of important literature, or win the lottery.
The year was unremarkable, really - unfolding in the stillness of mornings, the mystery of moonlit evenings, and the wonder of thoughts emerging on the tips of fingers poised over this computer keyboard.
I attended more weddings than funerals, laughed more than cried, loved more than hated, held tight more than pushed away. I stood awestruck and teary at the edge of the Grand Canyon, held hands and dreamed dreams to the sound of the Pacific Ocean, passed soup to the homeless, coins to the jobless, and many glasses of wine across my kitchen counter to friends.
My sons fell in love - one with the creative, feast-or-famine life of a musician; one with a brilliant and beautiful girl.
My husband stayed in love. In spite of meltdowns, insecurities, flakiness, and general ADD behavior on my part, he stood with me - encouraging dreams, affirming milestones, kissing the hurts, reattaching the severed visions.
Most people I know still believe in God, still respect the wisdom of their elders, and continue to have faith in the ultimate goodness at the core of all that has been Created.
The dance of hope is tricky. The steps are complicated and the rhythm in the music is sometimes hard to find. The signals from our brains to our bodies so often miss the mark. We feel like fools, look like klutzes, and become so self-conscious that we forget to laugh at ourselves.
Stop today. Listen for the music playing in the background of life. See if you can find a groove. Look for a partner in the dance. Extend a hand. Move your feet. Stick with it. Hum the tune all day long. Write your own words.
That's hope you're nurturing, friends. Dance on.
2010 - bring it on.
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