Tuesday, December 31, 2013


This was to have been the year of promise.  Last year about this time I said that I was committed to kissing someone I liked and who liked me at midnight 2013.  I also stipulated that it would be a male.  I posted a picture of Klimt's "Kiss".  It is 11:09 and things aren't looking too promising.  I forgot to write that the company that I preferred for NYE was to be human.  As I write, there is one dirty street cat... named "Z" sleeping on my chair... fat and fed.  I guess I will give him a kiss at midnight as the Istanbul fireworks begin.  It seems to be my only option.

It has been an interesting year for this international school counselor.  I have traveled much,
explored many new places, made some new friends, loved and taught some great kids.
I have been challenged and questioned... I have made some grave mistakes and fallen again into some old patterns.  I have loved and lost and come home to what I know best.  I have clung to my faith, and wept in my doubts.

The world however is in much disarray I fear.  Power has overshadowed freedom and peace.  Wicked rulers and dark powers freely range unchallenged.  Millions die of starvation and violence.  Children suffer.  Brothers and Sisters go without when some have so much.   Some of us are cocooned in comfort and rarely see the misery and desperation that is slowing encircling.
 Refugees are growing in numbers.  Water is diminishing in scarcity.  Our air is no longer pure.  Our food is reconstructed into something unholy in the name of commerce and we pay money for this poison.  Much of the wealthy world is anesthetized by sports and entertainment and plenty into believing "all is well".  Many are trapped by the need to produce continuously so as to maintain a lifestyle that is less that true.

All is not lost of course.

I am not a fatalist, nor a pessimist.  I am a realistic dreamer.  I know what is possible and I know that in time.. a change will come.  It will not come however without pain and struggle and great courage.

This past year... some people I know of, and too many that I know personally.... have left this plane of existence.  Died.  Passed. Here is a short list of the more notable folks:

Nelson Mandela                     Joyce Brothers                    Princess Fawzia                 Peter O'Toole
Margaret Thatcher                 Malcom Shabazz                 David Frost                        Ray Price
Chinue Achebe                      Jean Stapleton                     Tom Clancy                       Annette Funnicello   Mikhail Kalashnikov              Esther Williams                    Scott Carpenter                 Roger Ebert
George Jones                        James Gandolfini                  Lou Reed                          Hugo Chavez

This isn't even a complete or terribly international list.  But for better or worse... each left a mark.

And then there are others whose names most of my readers won't know.  Two beautiful young women who I had the privilege to teach... each within a few weeks of one another.  A good friend of the same age whom I loved very much, and with whom I shared the raising of young children.  An aunt.  A good friends' young sweet granddaughter......  A tragic list for the most part.  Not notable... but each life most remarkable.

It is ten minutes to midnight here.  The fireworks will go bursting all over this sprawling metropolis, and people will kiss and drink and dance and celebrate life.  As they have done for many years.  And we will continue until time forsakes us and every knee becomes bent in awe and wonder.

I do know and believe in  the existence of eternity, and hope, and a better life.  I also believe in living a present life full of the same...  Here is to you and yours... to 2014.

 Further on Up!  Further on In!