Let us rise up and be thankful, for if we didn’t learn a lot today, at least we learned a little, and if we didn’t learn a little, at least we didn’t get sick, and if we got sick, at least we didn’t die. So let us all be thankful.
These words of the Buddha do a good job of summing up much of our lives. As this year nears its conclusion, we can look back and remember reasons to be happy and reasons to be sad. Every year we experience new births, rebirths, conversions, transformations, and new ways of seeing things. Most of us also experience some type of loss. Of course, one person’s loss is another person’s gain. As I write these thoughts half of the country is depressed and the other half is jubilant because of the recent presidential election. In time everyone’s feelings will likely be reversed. In addition, relationships can change and sometimes fall apart. People we care about leave our lives or sometimes die. Some of us are better off materially and financially and some of us are worse off. Some of us are in the spring or summer of our lives and others are in the autumn or winter of their lives. Some of us are gathering in the harvest of our lives while others are letting go and simplifying their life. Doors close and windows open. The unfolding of life, year by year, is the great mystery in which we all live. The poet Robert Frost summarized his experience of a long life with the three little words, “It goes on”. Soon we will be on the threshold of a new year with new possibilities and, if last year wasn’t so great for you, maybe the new year can be a year of new hope. Even in a time of fear, which is currently very real for many people, we cannot lose hope and we must walk in the light.