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December 30, 2008


Happy New Year, Beth.

... God doth not need
Either man's work, or His own gifts; His state
Is kingly. Thousands at his bidding speed
And post o'er land and ocean without rest;
They also serve who only stand and wait.

I am not a Christian, but increasingly I feel the truth of this: that we don't know what our work is here, and we can't judge its worth. (N.b. I'm not saying that we shouldn't judge its worth, I'm saying that we can't.)

That it has worth, that in fact it has infinite worth, is something that I don't doubt any more, not for a minute. (Which, come to think of it, is a confidence I could not have if I felt I knew how to judge its worth.)

Anyway. A beautiful photo to illustrate the solstice mood. Which I am just beginning to emerge from myself. A dark winter.

Happy new year to you too, Beth.

I know what you mean about being discouraged these last few days - it's a pitiable begining to a new year and the indifference in the American media is, while nothing new, depressing.

Bint Battuta had regular updated from a friend in Gaza up on her blog and mostly it has just served to get my blood boiling.

It is my experience that those who are the hardest on themselves are, in truth, the nicest, kindest, most worthwhile people around
A Happy New Year
and may 2009 bring you much joy, love and laughter

Same to you. Don't despair, and keep writing.

You've summed up beautifully a lot of what I have been feeling. General depression at the state of the world and at how little 'we' seem to care - how hopelss it seems to be. I am thankful that through these time of introspection and depression there will often be news of someone who rises above that and does somethjing amazing to help others. It gives me hope but also makes me feel so guilty that I can't find a way to do something myself. These feelings do seem to be part and parcel of this season and maybe that is the best thing about it - it makes us remember this side.
Thanks for this eloquent post and reminding me that others feel this as well.

Do our neighbors Down Under go through this December funk, I wonder, or is it the combination of winter and the end of the calendar year that brings so many of us Northerners to our knees? I have been sitting at my keyboard for days, pondering similar thoughts about the use I make of my own life. We circle this question all the time, and as Dale writes, we can't judge. All we can do is what we do. It's never going to be enough, but it will have to do.

Blessings on you in the New Year.

Dearest Beth. Thank you.

Dear Beth, you are the most thoughtful, self-reflective and sharing writer amongst the many good bloggers out there that I read. I empathize with your feelings of self-recrimination, yet you have done so much! This end of the year accounting in some ways is not a good thing, yet the start of a new year is a time of hope, of renewal, like it was amongst the pagans. The world is a mess but we keep on hoping for better, what else is there? I wish you, my dear friend, all that you hope for in the New Year. Thank you for being you.

A beautiful reflection, Beth. Many of the same thoughts/questions/regrets/hopes are swirling in my own heart.

Wishing you Every Good Thing in the new year.

For us,this year has been a long, dark night, too, in many ways. I wanted to let you know, however, what a comfort you were to John and I during the months when everything seemed so dark.
Your words lifted us and we needed it sorely.We are on the road to recovery now and trying to appreciate these days. But it's the words and good wishes of good people like you that helped us come through.

Happy New Year!
Mary and John

Dear ps pirro : We'll have to ask Robb and Pete! I bet it's an end-of-June funk instead. Thanks for writing and letting me know you share this mood sometimes too. And thanks for your own wonderful writing and reflecting, which has been such a pleasure to share this past year.

Lady P.: much, much love to you.

Marja-Leena, with friends like you, how could I ever be sad? Thank you so much for all these kind words and for your steady companionship and bright outlook. I wave to you and blow a kiss from the other side of Canada!

Patry, I was so glad to see your message; I've been thinking about you a lot these past weeks. Don't allow yourself to dwell too much on the regrets and misgivings -- as these dear friends here are showing me, what we have is love for one another and it is a great deal. Wishing you the very best too.

Mary and John - how good to hear from you! Thank you so much for telling me this; I know you've been reading my words for a long time now and I appreciate that more than I can say. I'm glad if they helped you on some of those dark days, and I hope 2009 is a much easier and lighter year for you both. Sending you both my best wishes!

Without exaggeration, my days are richer each time you post. So glad to have found your blog. Happy New Year, sweet Beth.

Happy New Year, Beth. These pages have enriched my days greatly this year. And for that, I can only offer my gratitude for you, your life, and your works.

ps pirro/Beth — I can speak only for myself, but I seldom go through any kind of funk regardless of the time of year (although I do prefer warmer weather — I'm not built for the cold, and find it a ongoing struggle to keep warm throughout winter). For me, the New Year seems to offer hope and possibility rather than a reminder of our failings, and I don't think that's simply, or largely, because it falls during our summer. This year that remains true, despite our recent elections having delivered a Government that resembles the Bush administration far more than it does the promise of the incoming US administration (e.g., ours is back-pedalling on climate change, ramming legislation through with as little regard for true democratic processes as they can get away with, and so on). If anything could send me into a funk, that would, but instead it's made me more determined to do my bit to make the world a better place.

Other New Zealanders will feel differently, of course. While physiological effects of the seasons on mental states have been well documented, I suspect the primary influence is personality.

Happy New Year :^)

My first comment on your blog, and truthfully, I'm in tears, now. I am sick to death of the anger and violence, too, and hope for more true love and peace in this new year. Thanks for your eloquence and grace, and I wish you the happiest of new years, and much love for you - and also for our world. Here's to creativity, and to joy!

Is it wrong to speak of 'male violence'? I hesitate, as some argue that this is sexism/sexual stereotyping and that we are all the same - that women would be just as violent if they had power. It seems clear to me that most men are simply addicted to violence.

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