by Melodie Davis
for release January 7, 2000
At New Year's time, we usually think only about what it means to begin a new year. We mentally calculate New Year's resolutions, even if we don't write them down.
**NOTE TO EDITORS: We realize that the next millenium actually starts 1/1/2001 but the common conception is that it starts 1/1/2000 so -- despite our personal misgivings on perpetuating an inaccuracy -- we are allowing the following paragraph to stand.***
This year, not only do we get a fresh start on a New Year, but a new century, and of course the new millennium. One of the mind-blowing things about a new millennium is it automatically puts us cellular phone-instant messaging-faxing-fast packaging-trading stocks every second-people into slow motion. Think back to how folks were living 1,000 years ago and then realize: I lived in the same millennium as them. They are of my millennium. Many times events such as the U.S. Bicentennial in 1976 or the Columbus 500-year anniversary in 1992, are hyped for years in advance. By the time they finally roll around, they end up being nothing more than a giant ho hum. We say, what was that about?
Y2K computer/chip problems didn't alarm me as much as the newscasters warning of possible terrorist activity. We know all too intimately the terrible year of Colombine and how closely it hit home when many of our kids went through fake threats to their schools. We recall the terror that flew in Oklahoma City and at the World Trade Centers. We think of the near starving people waiting in line for daily bread hand outs in Kabul, Afghanistan (all children present and accounted for in line-you get one loaf for each body that shows up). We look at photos of refugees of war in countless places and say to ourselves, this is happening right now, it is not some old photo from the 40's. All this knowledge is sobering. Only a complete ostrich would say, be at peace, have no fear, all will be well. But I'd like for us to think in terms of what it means personally to be entering a new millennium.
One of my daughters recently had to plan a utopia for a class project. That is always an interesting exercise. How long has it been since you allowed yourself to dream big dreams?
One of the elements of the utopia my daughter and her team cooked up was that their planet would receive one half inch of rain, every day, and that the rainfall would always happen at night. However, her dad and I gently reminded her that, at least on Planet Earth, we really wouldn't want a half-inch of rain daily (come day or night), or we'd be living in continual mud or swamps.
So it is with the real world and planet we have been given: it is a good thing we don't get what we ask for, because we'd probably ask for the wrong thing. The greatest confidence I have in facing the new year, century, and the new millennium comes from a wonderful passage in Psalms 73:25-26, written in the beautiful language and poetry of the Psalms:
"Whom have I in heaven but you?
And earth has nothing I desire besides you.
My flesh and my heart may fail,
But God is the strength of my heart
And my portion forever."
What that says to me is that even when life itself is taken from us, we have nothing to fear, as God will be with us forever.
Early this year-don't rush, it's not too late-after all, we're in millennial time-take some time to take stock of your life and our society. What would be your fantasy for the world? Imagine it-with yourself in the picture. What would need to happen to achieve your fantasy? Assuming it is somewhat realistic (and moral!) begin thinking about how you could come closer to making your neighborhood a better place.
For your free 2000 Another Way desk calendar, you can still call 800-999-3534. [***special note for Harrisonburg your local area readers should call 434-2026.)
If you have comments on this column, write to: Melodie Davis, Another Way c/o Name\Address of YOUR newspaper; or e-mail: Melodie@mennomedia.org.
You can also visit Another Way on the Web at www.thirdway.com.
Melodie Davis is the author of seven books and has written her column since 1987. She taught feature writing and has won awards from a number of organizations including the National Federation of Press Women, Virginia Press Women and the American Advertising Association. She and her husband have three growing daughters.
NOTES TO EDITORS: text = 631 words; end material = 105 words
We would appreciate it if you would include the "Globe Syndicate" bug at the end of the column.
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