A Bit of Hope for the New Year
I have a confession to make. I have been rather grinchy. I am not proud of this. It seems that I’ve been in a bad mood for over a year now. It has been difficult to be cheerful and optimistic. I am really struggling with the direction our country is taking, and live in a very conservative town. I have many friends and neighbors that are happy with the current administration. I feel greatly conflicted about these good people, since it seems they are, at best, stupid, or at worst, evil. Which makes me judgemental. And possibly a jerk. I don’t really want to belabor this, but my general outlook has been gloomy. Christmas kind of snuck up on me. We didn’t get our tree until last Saturday, I didn’t decorate much, and have been quite “bah humbugish” about it all.
Even Christmas music has been getting on my nerves. “Baby, it’s cold outside” just doesn’t feel festive, it is creepy, in this #metoo time. So by the time Christmas Eve Sunday rolled around I was unfortunately in a bit of a funk. Thankfully, we had only Sacrament Meeting, which was mostly Christmas hymns. I am not a good singer, but since my husband is the choir director, I sing with the choir, and the program we practiced went well. The bishop asked if the choir could go and sing to some ward members that aren’t well enough to attend church. So we all met up at an elderly couple’s home. The brother has many health problem, and has had a foot amputated. The sister has severe dementia. We crowded into their home, and filled the room. The sister clearly didn’t recognize any of us, but had a bemused smile on her face. As we shared our songs with them, her husband was very appreciative. But our sister, who had been our ward chorister for years, sang along. She remembered every single word. There was hardly a dry eye in the house. The room was full of spirit and love. I felt something unfamiliar, and perhaps it was that my small heart grew three sizes that day. It felt miraculous to me.
I still don’t know how to understand my neighbors and their views. But on Christmas Eve Sunday, in a small home filled with saints, I felt again my love for them. All was calm, all was bright. I felt a glimmer of hope, of belief that surely what we share is greater than our differences. I did not see a bunch of misinformed voters, I saw my brothers and sisters. It was a tiny moment of true Christmas spirit. In this new year I will try to remember that feeling as I work toward peace and maybe even understanding in my heart.