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New Year’s Eve brings a myriad of thoughts and emotions if you take time to be still and allow yourself the luxury of pondering and feeling. It would be easy enough to list the litany of joys and sorrows I have experienced this year; so much harder to list those of others.

So many come to mind: the joys and hardships of those serving in the military, and of their families. The trials of those who have been persecuted in this land or in others. The difficulties of those we see on our streets asking for help, and of their loved ones. The suffering of those who have seriously ill family members, horribly estranged relationships or who are ill themselves or mourning a loss.

My little doggie is curled up bedside me totally unaware of anything but the fact that I am here and he is warm and cozy. His soft silky coat and beautiful markings are mesmerizing. The TV is on downstairs and one of the bowl games is about to begin. Our middle son and his wife, alumni of one of the universities playing, are with their kids and friends who are pulling for the opponent. Our son-in-law and grandson just left another of the bowl games in which their team clobbered their opponent. Meanwhile, our oldest son is at a festival in Virginia with his wife and children and he sends me pictures by text of the cuteness in action.

In many ways this night is no different than others. Except that for some reason we feel compelled to mentally and emotionally take stock of where we’ve been and where we are going to be different next year. As I end my seventh decade of life and remember my New Year’s Eves of the past, it seems they now are more like they were early in my life. It’s just not that important to me. I have no desire to celebrate. I really don’t want to hear the fireworks that I know will come, mainly because they scare the daylights out of my companion next to me.

But lest you think I’m the Scrooge of New Year’s, please read on. What’s prompting me to write is three simple things. First, I want to write something this New Year’s Eve because when I write it somehow makes the intangible become tangible. Second, I told myself I would write the blog each month, and December ends tonight. But last and most important, I’ve boiled all this New Year’s Eve hoopla down to one key, life-
changing thought.

When I was a little girl, there was a book I loved that I will tell you about another time. But the subject of that book helped craft who I am. And it was reinforced throughout my life by my Dad, even until his last days. My father was a big man, a tall, blonde-haired, blue-eyed Texan. You noticed him when he walked into a room. But he went from being a strong, healthy man all the time I knew him to one who could do nothing for himself in his last months. And yet even in this weakened state, my Dad was able to say, “The good outweighs the bad.”

As we think about our year that has passed and the one that is coming, and as we think of the soldiers or the homeless or sick, and of all their sorrows and joys, can we say, “The good outweighs the bad”?

Martha Washington once said, “I have learned that the greater part of our misery or unhappiness is determined not by our circumstance but by our disposition.” I wonder what would happen if we spent this next year looking for the good that my 91-year-old father and Martha Washington found.