Friday, January 1, 2010

A New Year, A New Decade - Happy 2010!

One day when I was quite young, school in our small town was closed because of heavy flooding . The water covered the street and came several feet up our lawn which was elevated from the street by about 4 feet.

I have no memory of it, but it must have been raining for days for the water to rise that high. We kids stayed in the house oblivious to the havoc outside, and played; happy to not be in school.

The thing that I remember vividly about this small snapshot in my life is that the rain finally did stop and the clouds broke, spilling sunlight over everything including a vivid rainbow that hovered in the west, down Amherst Drive.

My mother must have made a sound because I looked up at her and she had tears in her eyes.

Why are you crying, I asked.

Because the rainbow is so beautiful, she responded.

Why do we get rainbows, I asked.

It's God's way of telling us that everything is going to be okay, she said.

I'll never forget that moment. Possibly because I found it comforting; possibly because it was so unlike my mother to say such a thing (she was not a religious person in any conventional sense and she swore like a trooper. I am very much like my mother.)

The reason I tell you this is because I've been thinking about where we find ourselves on this day, launching into a new year and decade amidst domestic and global troubles and uncertainty. Some of us not knowing when and from where the next paycheck will come. Some of us living on the streets. Some of us living in and with war, violence, abuse. Some of us barely keeping body and soul together. Some of us starving. Some of us cold.

It's a grim picture. And yet, humankind continues on.

I once had a sociology professor who, on the first day of class, said that besides the animal instinct to survive, human beings exist on faith. I thought he meant religion and God and immediately dismissed him. But he went on to explain that it is a kind of faith that we hope and believe that we will continue to exist from day to day for all of our lives, and eat and sleep and love and have children and aspire to goals, doing both great and small things.

I don't know if I would put it just the way that professor did, but as I grow older and look at life from a more existential point of view, I do believe that the things that sustain us most in this world truly are faith, hope and love.

And if we can keep those three words in the forefront of our minds as we go about our day to day living, and if we can keep those three words in the forefront of our hearts when we think about or see the plight of those less fortunate, and if we can keep those three words in the forefront of our deeds (which includes who we vote into office) when we interact not just with other human beings but with all living things, including our planet, then I can't help but believe that everything is going to be okay.

My mother told me so.

Cook's Notes:
Love and gratitude to all my food blogger friends who sustain me in this whacky endeavor of blogging.
In 2010 Christine Cooks will get a new look and, come March, I will have a bit more time in my life to devote to this blog that I love.
Here's a little something to watch, if you would like. And, please, I'm not promoting Starbucks.

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