It is with great sadness and regret that I look back on 2016. I know I speak for many when I say this year has left me feeling more mortal and distressed than any other in a long time. Not only did I lose some good friends and family members, the world lost more 130 great people who left their mark on society. While many of them were entertainers, others were judges, astronauts, sports’ figures, and even a dictator. Among those who died were musicians and actors who impacted my youth, something that has left me feeling very old.
But that wasn’t all. 2016 was a year of natural disasters, too, starting with Jonah, the winter storm that dumped huge amounts of snow along the northeastern coast of North America. Then we had the huge earthquake in Taiwan, the wildfires in Alberta, California, and Tennessee, the massive flooding in Louisiana, the Italian earthquakes, Japaneses, Indonesian and New Zealand earthquakes, the last of which spawned a tsunami, and Hurricane Matthew, just to name a few.
I wish that was all. We also had the various man-made disasters, which included sinkholes, oil leaks, abuse of aboriginal people fighting to protect their land and their lives, and of course the damage in Syria, especially Aleppo. Thousands have died for political and religious ideologies I can’t begin to understand. And of course, the world witnessed what had to be the dirtiest election campaign ever fought anywhere. The mudslinging, allegations of malfeasance, inappropriate behaviors, ranging close to treason, racism, misogyny, etc. left many shaking their heads.
Did anything good come from 2016? For me, yes. The highlight of my year was my trip to Denmark, Norway, and Iceland to attend my granddaughter’s confirmation in Oslo. We took a cruise of the Norwegian Fjords. All in all, it was an absolutely wonderful trip, one I would love to repeat someday.
In my publishing life, I finished and released Forever and Always, The White Iris, Hello Again, Desert Deception, and Prove It! I also put Come Home for Christmas, my holiday novella, into paperback. This year, I also talked to a group of students about the writing process and to two groups of ladies about how I got into writing, something I hope to do again one day.
In my personal life, I had a crisis of faith when a beloved minister was forced out of the pulpit. I’ve struggled with this for months, and while I know I need to forgive those responsible and move on, I’m still grieving the loss. One consolation is that our friendship endures and I see or talk to her almost every month.
In this part of the country, we were spared the worst of the bad weather.Personally, I loved the long, hot summer, could’ve done without the frigid temperatures earlier this month and Mother Nature could’ve kept the ice on Boxing Day, but all in all, I’ve been very fortunate. My children, grandchildren, and other members of my family are well, as am I, something to be grateful for when I think of all the friends facing cancer treatments, surgery, and long periods of recovery.
I guess that explains why Father Time looks so exhausted and worn out at the end of 2016. Surely with only 3 days to go, he won’t cause anymore havoc!
Now, at the end of those three days, we’ll usher in 2017, and for the first time ever, I am not in the least bit optimistic. Many of the horrible things that happened in 2016 will continue to have consequences in 2017. In his Christmas address, Prince Charles alluded to the fact that the world is not far from the conditions in was in before Hitler propelled us into World War II. It’s true that one faction of a religion is hellbent on destroying all of the world’s infidels, one political tyrant has invaded another country, intent on annexing it, while another flexes his muscles with weapon testing, racism and terrorism are at an all-time high, and with the ability to annihilate ourselves, most of us can do nothing but sit and wait.
For me, I pray my family’s good health and happiness will continue as well as that of all my friends. I wish those recovering from illnesses get well quickly. I have books to write and finish, things I can control. I’ll just have to pray that common sense and wisdom prevail. Let’s hope 2017 is better for everyone.