A new year presents new opportunities for discovering and rediscovering the world around us. We should face each day knowing that it is up to each one of us to develop and perpetuate more viable visions of what our lives can be. In the midst of all the negativity around us, we must face and own up to the responsibility to create for ourselves the lives we want. We do not need a political stage to do so. We can build a better world right there in our own families, in our own immediate circumstance. To do so we must commit to engaging in our own lives and in community in ways that are redemptive and hope sustaining.
The world is in reality much more than that which is presented to us each day in our popular media. There are many circumstances that need correction. There are cultural and political challenges that we must somehow come to terms with. There is war and strife. But despite the efforts designed to create a sense of insecurity that become the means by which we are riveted to our seats in the theater of a consumerist culture, we must reclaim our attention. All isn't doom and gloom. On the one hand we may have carnival barkers incessantly screaming for our attention with their vile prescriptions for what ails our world. These characters thrive on the creation of chaos because it is a reflection of their own inner states. Misery loves company. But against the nonsense they represent we are challenged to remain vigilant in our commitment to keep on building a better world.
The development of more sustainable lives and communities is a function of new and more dynamic ways of thinking and being. Change your mind... Change your world. Against the hopelessness of those who would impose on the rest of us their tragic visions of life, we must represent in our own lives a more hopeful way of being based on the old formula that we should do to others as we would have them do to us. Instead of imposing our insecurities on others through our politics, our religions, and our general ignorance; we must challenge ourselves to be more compassionate. It is compassion that can move us out of the cul de sac of stale ways of seeing things into more creative ways of being. Compassion is the willingness to walk a mile in the shoes of others in an effort to develop the empathy we need to not instinctively condemn them for the things about them that we do not understand. It is the harder way. But it is the necessary way that peace and justice requires.
Imagine a world where racism, sexism, and genderism were not obstacles in the course of our every interaction. Imagine an economic culture in which we all agreed that greed is in fact a disconcerting evil. Imagine a world in which to do to others as we would have them do to us was more important than to force others to believe as we believe. Ultimately our willingness to walk a mile in each other's shoes is more productive than riding roughshod over each other's hopes and dreams.