At the end of each year, our family always wish our friends a New Year of health, happiness, and peace. And we mean it. We also know that while we can eat right and exercise and all those things aimed at keeping us healthy, we have no control over catastrophic illness or accidents. We can only do our best. And we can behave in ways that should lead to happier lives but there are still those events that rob us of that goal or the vagaries of our egos that lead us to sabotage our own happiness.
Now the issue of peace is a bit trickier. Many of us simply cannot understand why fellow human beings insist on waging war or carrying out terrorist acts on our fellow humans. I know that it is often done in the name of religion or freedom or some other catch phrase but it seems to me that the taking of other people's lives, or enslaving them, or subjecting them to any form of harassment is simply wrong. We teach our kids that it is wrong to bully other children. Why is it that we cannot convince our political leaders and the religious zealots of the world that it is equally wrong to bully groups of people or even other nations?
So, in wishing those of you who pass this way a Happy New Year, I hope that all of us will work, pray, cajole, vote and do anything we possibly can do to move this fragile planet in the direction of peace. Oh, I wish everyone health and happiness too, but if we continue on the path of violence and destruction, health and happiness are rather moot.
I know this is not my usual upbeat view on life. (My wife calls me a Pollyanna.) My optimism seems to be for my immediate, daily existence. But when it comes to the future world in which my children and grandchildren will live long after I am gone, I get more and more disturbed by what I see around me and on television and in the papers. Today's world is getting to be a much less pleasant place to live.
Enough of this downbeat sermon as 2007 comes to a close. Let the smile return to my face. Let me see the intrinsic goodness in humankind in which I have so ardently believed.
Have a very Happy New Year and a year of health, happiness and, most of all, peace!