On Waiting For The Ball To Drop Into 2017

January 1st, 2017  |   

As people around the world waited for the clock-focused revelry associated with the arrival of 2017, the human spirit was stretched for sober inspiration in the midst of global chaos.

While waiting and watching for an 11,875 pound ball, covered with 2,688 Waterford Crystal triangles, to drop 141 feet in Times Square, I couldn’t help but wonder when and where the next shoe would drop, a boot full of violence and terror.

The recognition of potential boot-droppings was visible in the 7,000 police officers, the 65 sand trucks weighing 40 tons each and 100 blocker vehicles, the helicopters overhead, and the security boats in the East and Hudson Rivers.

And then, just before the ball dropped, a boot dropped in Turkey. At least 35 people were killed and over 40 wounded when a lone attacker opened fire on revelers celebrating New Year’s Eve at a nightclub in Turkey.  

In a recent conversation with a man from Aleppo, I was asked if I was still hopeful. He was looking for an encouraging word.

When I think of that fractured city, the wasteland in Syria, the faces, the bodies, the rubble, T.S. Eliot’s words from The Waste Land come to mind. “I will show you fear in a handful of dust.”

In all honesty, was I capable of digging deep enough in my soul to find a word of hope for this man who, like me, wants more from life than violence and bloodshed, more than seeing his homeland reduced to dust and ashes?

Like a man mining for gold, I feel compelled to dig for a redemptive word, a hopeful word, a word upon which I can stake my life, one that might even help to restore hope, perhaps even save lives in this alarming time in which we live.  

One of the followers of Jesus, Matthew, by name, when faced with the horrible violence and terror of the Roman Empire, wrote: “You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed.”

For God’s sake, Matthew, give us a break! How can we not be alarmed? We not only hear of war and rumors of war, we also see war on handheld electronic devices, and in our homes, as we stare at the bloody boob-tube news.

We also see the residue of war in the broken bodies and spirits of veterans who return home with less of themselves than they had when they left home.

If that were not enough, we are left to discover, if we care to look, the exorbitant perpetuation of military weaponry, built so outrageously into the warp and woof of our bloated war-dominated budgets.

As the year dwindled down to a closing finale, my mail and e-mail messages were filled with desperate apocalyptic warnings. They offered me a “last chance” to make a financial contribution to a multitude of worthy causes I support, such as:

·      A gift to feed local homeless and hungry people. 

·      Money to support a Jewish organization’s effort to end the Israeli occupation of Palestinian land.

·      Local and national campaigns to resist the assault on a woman’s right to reproductive choice.

I’m told that I have one last chance to give before the ball drops. 

On Monday, the ball will be stored away. Folks will begin a 2017 schedule, one that will move inexorably toward the inauguration of a new President, Donald Trump. The rush for end-of-year giving will have given way to a new year of giving. And what then will we have to give to our needy country, as well as the troubled world?       

What we have to give may very well be tied to the answer I dug out of my soul for the man from Aleppo who asked me if I was hopeful, given the war torn state of the world.

Yes, I say, I am hopeful. Provided that hope takes shape in the form of resistance.

Antonio’s words in Shakespeare’s play, The Tempest, might very well provide direction. “What’s past is prologue.”

This hideous election is past, and the prologue is resistance. And I feel certain that President Trump, and his administration, will give us plenty to resist.


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Nations will hammer swords into plows, their spears into sickles, there shall be no more training for war. Each person will sit under his or her fig tree in peace.
Micah 4:3 - 4