With the tearing of each day off the calendar, our trust that better days lie ahead takes a hit.
It seems with every December, the majority of us look at our surroundings, and don’t care for what we see. We all went into 2016 with hopes. Whether that be a change in our place in life, our finances, a shift in local or state politics or good fortunes for our love ones — the dawning of a new year tends to generate hope for better days.
As the year draws to a close, a black cloud seems to have settled over many of us.
We’ve lost incredible talents in the entertainment world. People we’ve associated with, or let into our lives with their words and music. Music has always been a powerful means of persuading the spirit. We sometimes attach ourselves into a perceived bond between ourselves and the artist. So, when we lose the likes of a Prince or David Bowie, despite them being distant strangers to our personal worlds, it hurts.
This political season has also had more than its fair share of slings and arrows, and many of them were flung by friends and people we know on social media. There is a reason wise people choose not to speak of politics around the watercooler. We all saw it this year in the childish manner in which barbs were traded on Twitter and Facebook. Friendships got ugly, and in some cases, ceased. Unfortunately, people have been too quick to take political sides. And, the words shared between people have resembled quibbling sports fanatics instead of individuals locked into a functional, sophisticated debate. With the news that federal investigators allege that our general election may have been tampered with by foreign nationals, we are all left to question the sanctity of the one process that defines our democracy.
If we’re lucky, at the end of the day, we come back to center with our home lives. Our families are our touchstones, and our homes our fortresses. We shed away the stress of the day, and come back to people who know us best. It’s a reset button, a sanctuary we look forward to visiting at the close of each day. Because of that, we hope for the best, not just for ourselves but for those we love. We work. We slave. We do what we can to improve our own station in life, and to support and raise the lives of our children. With the season upon us, we all suffer from the pressure of finding the perfect gift for everyone in our lives. Those gifts cost money, and money brings with it another form of stress.
This Saturday, Dec. 24 marks the start of Chanukah. The Festival of Lights reminds us of miracles and the need to maintain hope despite whatever darkness that may surrounds us.
Michael Hallisey is managing editor of Spotlight Newspapers.