Here we are, another year has gone by. Somehow, changing calendars fills people with a sense of nostalgia over the year passed on and, at the same time, a sense of optimism over the year ahead. I don't suppose I'm much different from most folks in that sense.
Looking back on the past year, I have to say it was a good one. Sure there were bumps along the road. Life hits us with curve balls all the time. I think it's how we choose to deal with them that makes the biggest difference between hitting that curveball out of the park or chalking up strike number three (to use a baseball metaphor). Even with the challenges that were faced during 2018, We all emerged at the end of the year still on the sunny side of dirt, so it was a pretty good year in that aspect.
Looking forward, I have no idea just what 2019 will bring. I'm reminded of my experience of living a year "on the road" with the group, Up With People. Many of you are at least vaguely familiar with the group. We were a group of perpetually smiling young people going to cities and towns, both large and small, trying to convince people that we really can get along with each other and that there is a very good reason for hope in the world. Every time I left a city or town, I would be hit with mixed feelings. Usually, I would be hit with a little bit of sadness over leaving a family who graciously opened their house, refrigerator and sometimes washer and dryer to me, even if for a short time. If it had been a particularly challenging situation, I would be filled with optimism that the "next city will be better." Sometimes the next city was better, sometimes the next city would bring its own challenges. Looking back through the prism of many years, I realize the challenges were, more often than not, not as bad as they seemed at the time and, without exception, each one helped me to grow.
So as we load our luggage onto the "bus of time" and leave 2018, heading down the road to 2019, I hope and pray that the "next city" will be a good one for you. I also pray that when our time in the next city comes to an end, we will still be perpetually smiling, and still here on the sunny side of dirt.