This year has been a wild ride, to say the least. Marked by spectacular economic collapses, crippling oil prices (Remember paying more than $4.00 a gallon this summer? I sure do.), increased hunger, and more toxic products, 2008 will not find many who will mourn its passing.
And yet, as we turn back to view the path we have just traveled, rays of light emerge from behind so many dark clouds: An historic election, which shattered glass ceilings, shredded prejudices and catapulted us into the 21st century; record-breaking, inspiring physical achievement; and an inclination toward charity (even if my evidence is only anecdotal), despite a perilous economic landscape.
Looking ahead to 2009, much is uncertain. Will the economy get worse before it gets better? Will the new president be as effective as millions have hoped? Will we surface from these depths and begin to breathe freely again?
No one knows, of course. But there is always reason to hope. Reason to hope because we've come this far already. Reason to hope because, this holiday season, every time I tried to put a few dollars into the familiar red canister next to the bell-ringing volunteer, I had to wiggle and shove the money into a full-to-capacity bucket. Reason to hope because hope feels so much better than despair. Reason to hope because we are intrepid.
As we close the casket on 2008, we must do so without eulogizing. In stead, we should enumerate our hopes for the infant New Year. We must invest ourselves in the future because you never know what's just around the corner. Let's close this door already, so we can climb through that open window.