Early morning on the East Coast of the United States, electronic devices busily spewed audiovisuals from halfway around the planet heralding the new year. Thundering colors illuminating the sky, bubble filled clinking glasses, locking lips and embraces were openly on display. Privately prayers of gratitude and promises of change are whispered, written or spoken in silence.
Scenes such as those described above are repeated every 365 days. This is not a holiday celebrated because of individual religious or spiritual beliefs. For most, it is not a holy–day at all. Yet we are drawn in because on New Year’s Eve and Day, most of us set aside our differences and find commonality in celebration.
It is a clichéd statement that says “some see the glass half-empty and others half-full.” I have taken it further at times and asked “where’s the glass?” However, it would be disingenuous of me if I failed to mention there will be many who cannot find the proverbial glass tonight. There would not be enough room in this writing to list all of them so I’ll only mention one group that represents many. The many have lost something in the prior 365 days which will be irreplaceable.
In mid-December, the Institute did a small presentation at a local middle school to raise awareness about disabilities.
Although this is not at the center of our mission statement, this audience of young people ranging from kindergarten through high school has become one of my favorites. Pictures will follow in January so please check back!
Shortly after this event, 20 kindergartners and 6 adults were senselessly killed. Lives and innocence were lost. It was particularly jolting to me because I had just shared a wonderful experience with 20 innocent youngsters. So on this New Year’s Eve, I ask that we all take a moment to find gratitude for what we have and to recognize that in a moment everything can change.