Entering the New Year with Hope and Optimism

With 2021 being only a short span of time away, we need to make sure that we are going forth into this New Year with hope and optimism. The year of 2020 has been, arguably, one of the most difficult and trying times that many of us have every experienced due to the effect of COVID-19, the election, and other issues and challenges that confronted us as a nation. Our way of life and routine has been drastically altered. We all, to some degree, have had to adjust our lives to stay safe and secure from the pandemic that infected so many and killed far too many in its rage (like an out-of-control forest fire). All of us, to some extent, have either been directly or indirectly affected by this microscopic killer that does not discriminate on who its victims are. It does not matter whether you are White, Black, Brown or Native American. It will not bypass you due to your education, political affiliation, religion, or socio-economic status. COVID-19 has invaded schools, nursing homes, the work place, hospitals, ships, and even the White House at 100 Pennsylvania Avenue. Through its airborne qualities and usage of people as its host, it will show up anywhere people gather who are not wearing masks, practicing social distancing, frequently washing their hands, or using hand sanitizer. Then there is the detriment and devastation it has wreaked upon our economy causing many businesses to either drastically down size and lay off workers in the process or shut down completely. This has produced the greatest number of unemployed Americans since the Great Depression. The grave consequences have been food insecurity by many families as well as mortgage, lease, and rent delinquencies. Finally, on the dark side, our children’s education has been compromised in many school districts through virtual and online teaching. Having a wife and a daughter, who are excellent virtual teachers, I have no problem with this method of teaching when the students are guided by their parents or guardians to pay attention and do their work. The problem often arises when children are left to their own recognizance and volition. Sad to say, only a few in such circumstances are self-motivated enough to stay focused and do their work without their minds and attentions going in another direction.
Well, now that I have shared enough about the challenges and negatives of 2020, what about 2021? What are you looking forward to in this New Year? I hope that you are as hopeful and optimistic about 2021 as I am. In a real sense, with the invention and release of at least two vaccines that have been proven to be ninety-five percent effective in dealing with the coronavirus, every one of us should be hopeful and optimistic that these vaccines are gong to be life changers in helping us to defeat this deadly disease. I know that there is some reluctance and skepticism in some to take the vaccine. This is perhaps more the case in the African American community than in any other, due to the historical and racist experiences we have endured with the medical profession us as guinea pigs (as was the case in the Tuskegee Institute experiment with Black men concerning the venereal disease of syphilis). However, when my time comes after they have vaccinated all of the people in the nursing homes, the health care professionals, those who are serving as first responders, etc., I am going to gladly be vaccinated (like I do every year with the flu shot).
Once again, I hope that you will be in the number of those who are truly hopeful and optimist about this New Year, not just because we can see some light at the end of the tunnel concerning the pandemic, but because it is always better to look on the bright side of things and be positive and not negative about the future. Allowing yourself to maintain a negative outlook is certainly not going to make things any brighter or better for you. It will only depress you and make your condition or situation worse. However, there is something medicinal and therapeutic about an optimistic and positive mindset. I will conclude today with the following passages that are very appropriate to our discussion:
“Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” (Matthew 6:34)
“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.” (Philippians 4:6-8)