Imagining Peace

Here I sit on New Year’s Eve, in the comfort of my den, watching that huge Waterford Crystal ball descend in Times Square signaling the beginning of 2018.
I’ll leave the in-person, 10-degree temperature experience to the younger generation. New York City would be way too cold and crowded for this senior citizen. That said, I do respect the pluck and hardiness of the folks who braved the elements to share the ambiance of this festive passage into yet another year.
According to reports, this year’s ball measures 12 feet in diameter, weighs almost six tons, and includes 2,688 triangles illuminated by 32,256 LED lights to produce a sparkling kaleidoscopic effect.
The night was filled with celebrities galore, but the highlight (for me, anyway) was singer Andy Grammer’s rendition of John Lennon’s classic “Imagine” as the heavily bundled denizens, arms uplifted, swayed and sang along.
How incredibly appropriate, I thought, for over the past year, I’ve done quite a bit of imagining.
I’ve imagined a world without prejudice.
I’ve imagined a world where respect reigns and hatred and harassment are non-existent.
I’ve imagined a world where we celebrate differences in race, religion, orientation, and heritage.
I’ve imagined a world where we learn from each other, take care of each another, take pride in each other’s accomplishments, and make each other better.
I’ve imagined a world where we listen far more than we speak.
I’ve imagined a world where “what’s right” is more important than “who’s right.”
I’ve imagined a world where technology solves problems rather than providing an avenue to create them.
I’ve imagined a world without war or even the threat of war.
I’ve imagined a world where we use our national resources not for destructive purposes but to help our fellow man in the face of disease and natural disasters.
I’ve imagined a world where beauty is judged not by appearance but by fortitude, resilience, and strength of character.
I’ve imagined a world where we don’t do what’s “politically correct.” Instead, we do what is “correct.”
I’ve imagined a world where our leaders act with dignity, honor, and humility and set a positive example for the younger generation.
I’ve imagined a world where elected officials are truly statesmen who make decisions based on open-minded, reflective thought rather than yielding to special interests or taking the most expedient path.
I’ve imagined a compassionate, just, and peaceful world peopled by enlightened, empathetic, decent souls.
I’ve imagined a world where strength, resolve, and maturity mean stepping back from a fight rather than provoking or inflaming it.
I’ve imagined a world where media outlets are so bereft of “breaking news” that they have only feel-good stories to report.
I’ve imagined a world where people are simply nice to each other because, well, we are truly all in this together.
Yeah, I know. Utopia doesn’t exist. The world is a tough, tough place. Always has been. Always will be. Good people do bad things. Bad things happen to good people. Life isn’t always fair. No secret there.
We’d never learn without challenges, of course. We’d never grow without experiences that render us battered and bruised, tattered and torn, bloody and scarred.
There’s hope, of course. Humanity reveals itself every day. It’s manifest in the caring of those who embrace the underserved, who protect us, who encourage us, and who open our hearts and minds to new ways of thinking. Amidst the flame and smoke, beauty reveals itself as well: In the spring day. In the gently falling snow. In the harvest moon ascending high above the loblolly pines. In the sunrise of a new day. In the dawn of a new year. One day strength will no doubt trump weakness, good will trump evil, and “the better angels of our nature” will prevail. In this very imperfect world, that is what I imagine.
      -- Weldon Bradshaw
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