Random Thoughts from a Restless Mind

Dr. Darrell White's Personal Blog

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Hope for the New Year

I came across my New Year’s musings from 2017. Let’s take a look, shall we, and see if there might be a little evergreen peaking through the soil of 2020 into 2021…

Chief Justice John Roberts gave a commencement speech to a group of 9th graders this year in which he wished them “bad luck”. Now, lest you think ill of the Chief Justice, that he was being churlish and mean-spirited, what he meant was that he wished that these young people would experience some degree of hardship in their youth so that they would develop tactics to persevere as adults when those same hardships inevitably arose.

“I hope you will be treated unfairly, so that you will come to know the value of justice. I hope that you will suffer betrayal, because that will teach you the importance of loyalty. I hope that you will be lonely from time to time so that you don’t take friends for granted. I wish you bad luck from time to time so that you will be conscious of the role of chance in life, and understand that your success is not completely deserved and that the failure of others is not completely deserved either.

And when you lose, as you will from time to time, I hope every now and then your opponent will gloat over your failure. It is a way for you to understand the importance of sportsmanship. I hope you’ll be ignored so that you know the importance of listening to others, and I hope you have just enough pain to learn compassion.”

My hope for each of you is encapsulated in Justice Roberts’ conclusion: I hope that you will have the ability to see the message in any of your misfortunes, and that you will express appreciation for the people who help you overcome them.

Let me leave 2017 with a final thought, inspired by Ben Reiter’s review of the movie “I, Tonya”. “Each of us, “I, Tonya” suggests, is more than the worst thing we’ve ever done–or, in Tonya’s case, the worst thing she might have done.” In our present days of instantly available and infinitely scalable opinion, we should add what someone says we did.

Let us, each of us, resolve that in 2018 we will look first to that which is good about each other, and endeavor to see that each of us is more like the best thing we’ve ever done than not.

2021 me is back. What do you think? For me it seems as though our poor children have gotten a lifetime’s worth of Chief Justice Roberts’ wishes this year, wouldn’t you say? Still, my wish in 2017 is, indeed, evergreen: see and appreciate those who helped, especially those who did so without being asked.

The year 2020 seemed so very hard while we were in the midst of living it. For those who became ill, who lost loved ones, it can only be the worst year ever. But for the rest of us, those who survived, when we look back we will likely see things gained as much as we see things lost. At least I hope that’s the case. All of those trips “lost”? They are still there for the taking. You may have learned, as I did, that the trips weren’t really the important part though; it was the company you would have kept on those trips that matter. If you are fortunate you spent 2020 with those same people (I was more with my closest people than not), or if not, are just itching to do pretty much anything, anywhere, just to be with them.

We are, as a people, more like the best thing we’ve ever done than not. Yes, let us go forth into 2021 and eventually out of the shadow of 2020 holding this evergreen thought close to our hearts. May 2021 be the year that you and I meet if we’ve not yet done so, the year that we reunite if we have.

Happy New Year to you all.

I’ll see you Sunday…

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