And so we move into the year known as 2022. I remember when I was in elementary school, just beginning to read and explore the world and be a consumer of popular culture. The “21st century” seemed so distant – literally, the stuff of science fiction (which just happened to be my favorite genre). I was profoundly affected by watching Stanley Kubrick’s epic film adaptation of Arthur C. Clarke’s “2001: A Space Odyssey” in our small-town movie theater. At that moment, I never could have imagined being alive in the year 2022, much less what it would be like.
Some of what I – and we – now take for granted, was beyond the wildest dreams of that little boy. Being able to type a few strokes on a keyboard and have access to, essentially, all the knowledge in the world. And of course, the flip side: having to sort through the good and the bad, all the information and all the intentional misinformation. Routinely carrying around a telephone – my own, personal computer – in my hand, and being at a loss, if it wasn’t readily available to me. Having not just that tiny computer, but owning half a dozen other computers of various sorts. At the time, computers themselves were largely either the stuff of science fiction, or the domain of NASA.
And of course, I had no idea I would be a minister, much less the longest-serving minister of a Universalist congregation in Cincinnati, Ohio. I wanted, if I ever thought about such things, to be a writer – which, I suppose, I still am, in a way. Oh – and to be the father of a 25-year-old son, who is living in, of all places, Hawaii? No way.
But here it is, another New Year, and we naturally reflect on such things. We think of the past, and the future. The unexpected turns in the road. The changes. The losses and the loves. We take stock. Such is the nature of this time of year.
My prayer for all of us, in 2022, is that we can make peace, with where we are. Wherever that is. Be that the pandemic, be that in our family relationships, be that in our health, be that in our careers, be that in our radically altered society. Let me be clear. By “make peace” I do not mean that we should stop fighting the good fight. Far from it. Where we see injustice (and there is much to see), we must never give in. Where we find challenges, we are always called to bring our best selves to the work of making a better world, a better community, a better church, a better family, a better person to offer to the world. But imagine how different it might be if we could do so from a place of equanimity, compassion, and acceptance.
While I am not one for making New Year’s “resolutions,” I can’t help but think that if I am able to focus my energies from that place of inner peace, which I believe each of us has inside, things won’t be quite as hard. I will be much more effective. And I will be much happier. So that is what I am going to try to do, as we move into the year known as 2022. What are your thoughts and dreams, hopes and goals, for the year ahead?
See you in late January!
Rev. Bill Gupton will be taking his winter break beginning December 29, and will return to work on January 24. In case of emergency during that time, he may be reached via that miraculous science-fiction device, his cell phone. He will also likely be able to be found tending to the grounds and the graves at Heritage Acres Memorial Sanctuary.