Happy New Year! As 2019 begins, I’m thinking about time.
I ushered in the New Year in Mainz, Germany. Believe it or not, it was the first time I have ever celebrated New Year’s in Germany. As we watched the fireworks over the Rhine from the window of our hotel room, I could not help but to be impressed. The Silvester revelers certainly put even Los Angeles to shame in terms of the length and duration of the firework show. Rather than just a central-show, everyone brought and launched their own. It was so much fun.
Little Augustine slept through the first 20 minutes of the fireworks. It was only when we opened the window (my wife and I both like the sulfur-laced smell of the air during a fireworks show) that the increased noise woke him up. You should have seen his face. He was amazed and delighted. It marked such a happy family memory.
And it reminded me, as I looked down on him, that time is running fast. You see that when you compare the pictures of him when we flew SWISS First Class exactly one year ago to him today. The idea that 01/01 wipes the slate clean is simply not true. Sure, it marks one arbitrary day to restart, but life groans on…it never stops.
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Last month I flew to Texas to pay my respects to former U.S. President George H. W. Bush. During his state funeral in Washington, DC a hymn was sung that included these lyrics:
Dies at the opening day.
Isn’t that the sobering truth? Time is an ever-rolling stream and it will eventually claim all of us. Thus, it matters all the more what we do with our time, our talents, and our resources.As I look ahead, I don’t want to waste time in the pursuit of money and vanity when it comes at so great an expense. Hard work is a virtue, and so is the reward it brings…yet they are not ends in themselves, merely means to an end.
My analysis of the black man ejected from a hotel in Portland was quite eye-opening. Not so much in the negative reaction of many commenters, for I expected that. Instead, it was the level of passion and detail in which many responded. Read through the comments and consider all the time it took to compose such stinging rebuttals to my own analysis. There are so many issues in which agreement will never be found, including this topic. I’m not out to earn everyone’s respect. That seems a pretty bad way to go about life. But when I write about any topic, I do want people to respect the point of view, even if it they strongly disagree with it. In order for that to occur, I need to be more empathetic. I need to be more understanding. That takes time. And time is an ever-rolling stream.
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A few days ago I was in Colmar, France to visit a Christmas Market. Unlike in Germany, in France Christmas markets continue the week after Christmas. It was a very cold day, but the hot roasted chestnuts warmed all of us. I know I got taken to the cleaners, but there’s something fun about shopping at these little wooden booths and we took care of much of next year’s Christmas shopping.
And while 01/01 may not really represent a new start, every day–in one sense–marks a new start. Resolutions that are broken need not be left until 2020. Rather, they can restart the moment they are broken. Life is not a linear continuum to perfection. Quite the opposite, it is marked by peaks and valleys, a time for everything under the sun.
As time flies by, my resolution this year is to continue to learn, continue to empathize, and continue to do my best to show dignity to others.
We’ll discuss blog-specific goals tomorrow. For now, Happy New Year and let’s all try to be a little nicer to one another this year, even when it is not deserved.