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A Letter to 2022

Dear 2022,

            Welcome.  Come in, take your coat off, and stay a while.  I’ve been expecting you and hope you come bearing gifts.

            Your recent predecessors, 2020 and 2021, gave moments – sometimes days, weeks, and months – that I want to forget.  Times that my friends and I never want to visit again. So, 2022, you can do almost nothing and be remembered kindly, but allow me to share a few words that I’ve heard would be welcomed during the next twelve months.

            Compassion

            Common Sense

            Cooperation

            Consideration

            Childlike

            Mark Twain said, “Compassion is language the deaf can hear and the blind can see.”  It’s concern for other people’s misfortune and suffering.  People don’t share the same experiences, the same mishaps, the same problems, but everyone can show compassion.  Standing beside those who hurt shows concern and mercy.  Suffering is part of life and can’t be avoided, but compassion fosters healing.

            Would you please bring cooperation?  The process where people work together to reach a common goal.  Sport teams are an example.  When a volleyball team wins a match, all six players are credited.  Blockers stop the ball at the net.  Other players ‘dig’ the ball off the ground, and the setter and hitter work together to return the ball into the opponents’ court.  Cooperation requires teamwork and compromise and combined efforts. 

            Now, about common sense.  Some people call it ‘horse sense’ because even a horse has enough sense to return to the safety of the barn. My grandfather, Papa, practiced common sense.  With a limited education, he looked at the facts, surveyed possibilities, allowed for exceptions, and made decisions based on past experiences and what was available at the moment.  And then he lived with the outcome.  Ralph Waldo Emerson is quoted as writing, “Common sense is genius dressed in its working clothes.”  That was Papa.

            Consideration is simply being nice, being kind.  It’s what was learned while sitting on the floor in Sunday School class: do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Consideration is a choice, an opportunity to show respect. It’s the good manners that mothers around the world preach to their children, especially as they go out the backdoor to play with friends and siblings or go to school. 

            A few doses of childlike would be welcomed gifts.  Adults could uncover the good of being a child, leaving the not-so-good covered. Young children enjoy life at its simplest.  The wonder of an ant carrying a crumb.  Splashing in a puddle of water.  Walking in the rain.  Amazed by a shooting star and the colors of rainbows.  Stacking blocks just for the fun of knocking them down. Could you bring the joys of everyday life?

            So dear friend, 2022, share your best and be remembered kindly. With these gifts, maybe each person will be remembered kindly also.             

P.S.  This writing is a bit late because last week I enjoyed a heavy dose of childlike when Tennessee was blanketed with snow and I forgot to mail this letter.