Posted by: 2thdocbob | 30 December 2019

How you know when a new day has dawned in 2020

The following is an opinion piece in the Deseret News written by Boyd Matheson, Deseret News Opinion Editor. In the past, Mr. Matheson has kindly encouraged me to share his articles, with proper attribution.

I am sharing this because his sentiments resonated strongly with me. As we approach a new year and a new decade, there is a serious need for understanding and civility. If each of us were willing to say “Let it begin with me,” we could initiate major change in the world.

But Matheson says it better than I do.

The original article may be found here.

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Turning the calendar to the new year provides an opportunity to start a new day for the nation. On many of the important policy issues, the country seems to be divided 50-50, yet it is also apparent that vast majority of people are troubled by, and tired of, the incivility, divisiveness and contempt currently on display in America. Most would welcome in the dawning of a brighter, better day for all.

The country is weary. Washington and the national media only seem capable of making it worse. It is important to note that there are good people on both sides of the political aisle who are earnestly striving for the hard-fought and patiently nurtured positive solutions our nation desperately needs. Sadly, far too many have succumbed to the path of least resistance — the red-meat rhetoric of the extremes, the obsessive focus on fundraising and futile fights designed to produce social media moments. It is little wonder as to why so many Americans are so exhausted.

I regularly remind readers and listeners, along with professionals from every field, that in most endeavors we run out of energy long before we run out of opportunity. Weariness is always the enemy of good people who desire to do good.

Overcoming the nation’s weariness and creating a positive future for America will — like most worthy undertakings — require each of us to rekindle our commitment to community and reframe the way we see all the individuals we interact with each day.

I remain hopeful that the country can turn the calendar from what has felt like a long dark night in 2019 to a new day that will dawn for the country in 2020. There are many big things that must be done, but the dawn of a new day will begin with small and seemingly insignificant acts by individuals.

Many years ago I heard a story that may hold part of the answer for America. A Jewish rabbi sat enjoying the sunrise with two of his friends. The rabbi asked one of the men, “How do you know when the night is over and a new day has begun?”

One friend replied, “When you can look into the east and can distinguish a sheep from a goat, then you know the night is over and the day has begun.” The second man was asked the same question by the rabbi and replied, “When you can look into the distance and distinguish an olive tree from a fig tree, then you know the darkness of the night is past and a new morning has come.”

The two friends then asked the rabbi how he could tell when the night was over and the day had begun. The rabbi thought for a long time and then said, “When you can look into the east and see the face of a woman and you can say, ‘She is my sister.’ And when you can look into the east and see the face of a man and can say, ‘He is my brother.’ Then you know the light of a new day has come.”

The night of weariness ends and the new day for our country begins with kindness and with treating each other, especially the stranger and the struggling, like brothers and sisters.

On the dark night after the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr., Bobby Kennedy stepped onto the back of a truck to address an already weary crowd. He acknowledged the devastating darkness of the night, then invited his listeners to join him in creating a new dawn. He said, “What we need in the United States is not division; what we need in the United States is not hatred; what we need in the United States is not violence and lawlessness, but love, and wisdom, and compassion toward one another.”

What we need2

I have been lifted and inspired by many unexpected and unlikely friendships during 2019. Each began with someone seeing me as a brother before identifying me as anything else. Race, religion, background, political leaning, education and profession had no bearing on the beginning of the relationship. It was simply a new a day, launched in the recognition of, “he is my brother.” It is worth repeating the simple reality that we are all brothers and sisters. Weariness evaporates as the mist before the morning sun, and the rejuvenating hope of good things to come rises with clarity in the rays of that kind of light.

We have much to do to move the country forward. Many difficult conversations will be required, authentic leadership will be needed and the engagement of every citizen will be essential. We can start, however by recognizing that when we dispense with the wearying darkness of division and demeaning contempt, we will see the faces, not of foes, but of friends — truly of brothers and sisters. When we do, weariness can be washed away, and a new day for us, and for them, can dawn. Morning will come to America, but it is up to each of us to help usher in the light of a new day.


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