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A hope note

Here we go again, slogging our way through the longest, darkest nights of the year. We seek, as Goethe reportedly exclaimed on his death bed, ‘More light! More light!’
The winter darkness can raise ultimate questions about death and life like, ‘Who am I? Where am I going? What’s it all about?’
Four metaphors call to me when the days get long and dark.
One comes from Francis Bacon who wrote, ‘The lame man who keeps the right road outstrips the runner who takes a wrong one. The more active and swift the latter is, the further he will go astray.’ Which is to ask, ‘Am I on the right path?’
A second is from Albert Schweitzer. Schweitzer invites us to consider the farmer plowing a field: ‘The plowman does not pull the plow. He does not push it. He only directs it. This is just how events move in our lives. We can do nothing but guide the plow straight.’ Which is to say, ‘In what direction am I steering things?’
A third is an old story attributed to a number of different people, including Stephen Covey, about the person who is climbing the ladder of success and gets to the top only to discover that it is leaning against the wrong wall. Which is to say, ‘Where are my priorities? Are they worthy of my life?’
A fourth is the old joke about the pilot who reports over the intercom: ‘Ladies and gentlemen, I have some good news and some bad news. The good news is that we’re making record time. The bad news is that we’re lost.’
Here in the darkness, with a new year before us, is a good time to take inventory on where we’re headed and if we’re making progress.