perhaps there’s a silver lining to 2016

Forgive me, for positivity is one of my top 5 strengths.  I can’t help but see the bright side of even the grimmest of things, and let’s be real, 2016 was filled with them. I can’t remember another year where I have waited so impatiently for winter with the hopes that the cold weather would put a pause on all the senseless shootings that have filled this year (Minnesotans clearly have a different understanding of cold weather as there was a 2 AM shooting outside just a couple of nights ago and it was below freezing…). Nor has there been another year where I have found myself saying too many times to count, “stop, you’ve got to be kidding me,” after reading of yet another young-enough culture-shaping celebrity passing away. Not too mention the countless stories and photos of devastation that we’ve heard and seen as we have “followed” the refugee crisis that took this year by storm. Sadly, there are too many other truly disheartening things that occurred this year to list, in part because, I promised there was a silver lining. So before I depress all of us, again, let me offer a twinge of positivity.

One of the things that I think all of us can agree on is that 2016 was an extremely difficult year for countless reasons. And here’s where the silver lining comes in, we can all agree on that. Stop for a second and think about it, for it really is more important than you or I might first realize. As C. S. Lewis reminds us, when it comes to quarreling, we can only truly quarrel with each other when we can agree upon some sort of Right and Wrong. Both parties have to agree “upon some kind of Law or Rule of fair play or decent behavior or morality or whatever you like to call it, about which they really agreed,” otherwise there would be not point in quarreling (Mere Christianity, 1943). If this is true when we argue, is it not also true when we agree upon something? We can take heart, that seemingly once this year, we can all agree about something. And this is just the start.

In a year when it felt like there was more disunity than anything else, perhaps we can end this year realizing that we actually agree on more than we think. It starts with all of us seeing 2016 for what it really was: a really hard year. And just like anything worth working on, we take another step forward, and then another, and then another. I wouldn’t have chosen this as a starting place, but it’s something and when we find that one thing we can all agree on, it’s worth laying everything else aside and taking it from there. So perhaps 2016 can be the start of something incredibly important rather than merely the death of so much…

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