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New Year beckons us out of La-Z-Boy chairs

New Year beckons us out of La-Z-Boy chairs New Year beckons us out of La-Z-Boy chairs

Congratulations. You have reached an historic goal: a new year will soon be upon us. You have worked hard, accomplished some good and a tiny bit of the questionable. Conquered some goals and put off some issues.
Happy New Year! The future lies ahead of you.
But, wait. What is it that we see looming ahead in 2016? It is ablaze with hazard signs. There is a flat economic picture with the stock market languishing and salaries stagnate. The extreme terrorist group ISIS is unexpectedly infiltrating our lives in public and private places. The climate changes are becoming very real with the lowering of water resources, extreme storms and the polluting of our air. The masses of foreign refugees seeking asylum keep coming, and political campaigns bombard our media.
There is a temptation to look with exasperation rather than hope as we start a new year. Often, we feel we live in the most challenging and fearful time in history. But, I suspect the cavemen who looked out of the hole into which they had climbed for safety felt the same way as they spotted unknown enemies, mammoths, storms and people who were strangers.
All along the timeline of history, new troubles and obstacles have confronted human beings. Somehow, people have invented gizmos that overcame dangers, developed working conditions that rectified problems and lucked out of becoming an extinct species. At our best, we have been wise enough along the way to seek help from a spiritual power greater than ourselves.
Yes, we do have previously unheard of complex and interrelated issues in 2016.
The bright spot is we have complex and highly developed methods of confronting and managing problems in the new year.
As I ran down the products being offered for sale on Cyber Monday ‘ the newly established shopping day for Internet bargains ‘ I was aware of the recently developed electronic gadgets that were totally unfamiliar to me. I have no idea what most of these new inventions do, let alone how to make them do it. But, young people can plug them in and tackle millions of problems in any place in the world.
Information has never been easier to acquire and use. With information and the skill of good reasoning and decision making, we are ready to impact that whirlwind world around us. Scientists tell us that the greatest computer is still the human mind. As long as we are breathing, we all have one of these amazing organs on our shoulders. The opportunity we have as we face a new year is the continuous development of our thinking ability, at any age.
I knew a man whom many thought of as the sharpest trial lawyer in Indiana. He told me he could live 30 lives and never get to learn all he was interested in knowing. He was elderly, pot-bellied and wrinkly when I knew him, but all of our mutual friends sought his company. He was lively, witty, interesting and friendly. His mind was focused outward and not consumed with his own well-being. He reveled in the challenges and miracles of everyday life as well as the monumental events of our time.
As I say goodbye to 2015 and hello to the bicentennial year of Indiana as a state, I want to open my mind and heart to what great experiences loom ahead.
I recall another elderly man I knew when he was 94 years old. We stood in the front hall of his newly completed home. Someone suggested he was too old to have wanted to build such a thing. He, a very successful industrialist, responded, ‘Why not? I am still alive, aren’t I? And what’s more, I don’t even feel sick.’ He added that he didn’t see why there was even a question.
Let’s look at the passage of time and our place in it. We may not know how to use the latest electronic gadgets or work with the most recent complex issues, but we all have more institutional knowledge than we had at the start of 2015, and that is worth more than money in the bank. If we keep reading, observing, thinking, questioning and discussing, we will keep ahead of the game.
Up out of the doldrums and La-Z-Boy chairs with us. A new day arrives, and we aren’t going to miss the show. Our future grandchildren will see we didn’t just occupy space when we populated this planet; we did things that made a difference.
Happy New Year!

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