By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter
MONTGOMERY—For many of us the New Year is a time to reflect on the one that has past and to determine, at least in part, what we will do in the new one.
No matter how much we plan or think about the days ahead, there are things that will come that are unforeseen–some good, some bad but all outside our present knowledge.
Of course the best preparation is always live today as if it were our last but plan as if we will live forever. Simple to say, very difficult to do. Most of us wish for a little more prosperity, to be a little healthier and to keep our loved ones safe and happy.
Not so much to ask but as life is uncertain, even those simple things are never a given.
People often ask, “Why do bad things happen to good people?” The simple answer is that there is evil in the world. Just as there is goodness, kindness and love, so is there wickedness, cruelty and hate.
Those of us who choose to look for the good in a world are more than not startled by the evil around us. So, it is that our minds look for meaning even in the most horrific events.
How do we explain the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre, the Wisconsin Sikh temple shooting, or the shootout at ‘Batman’ screening?
How to we prepare our children for a world in which Malala Yousufzai, a fifteen-year-old Pakistani girl, was shot in the head by a Taliban gunman because she dared champion the education of girls and actively publicized the atrocities committed by the terror band. What do we say to the family of the American soldier who gave his life fighting these same terrorists? What do we tell our young men when leaders like General David Petraeus have lustful affairs that bring public shame and private humiliation? What is to be said of the murder and torture in Benghazi, is there an answer other than there is evil in the world?
How do we ever counter such darkness? I humbly believe that we are to let our light so shine before men, that they may see our good works, and glorify our Father which is in heaven. This to sounds simple but in an evil world this means that we must work diligently to do the things we should do and not just the things we want.
Over the last year my family has been blessed beyond measure, God has given us a dream, a purpose and the blessings that come along with doing His will. He has even blessed us with the baby girl we never dreamed we could have.
Our house believes in the motto of doing well by doing good, this is an idea still greatly needed in our world, but those that embrace it understand its value.
Yet, everyday we have to wake and meet the new day with renewed purpose and commitment. It is not in doing what is right some of the time but striving to do right every time. This is not easy, it is hard but in life many times doing the right thing is doing that which is hardest.
We have precious little time on this earth however, time is a curious thing, philosophers and scientist have given great effort and thought to exactly what is time. Yet, with all their preponderance, time is ever so elusive as there are many types of time.
Human time—in other words— the moment in time we have to live and experience seems to be not only relative to events but also to the intellect of the individual who perceive its value. Why does time fly when we are having fun and pass so slowly when we are suffering a sickness?
Perception and participation, no?
All of life’s moments pour from the same cup yet we experience them differently.
Many years ago, I had a teacher who chastised a tardy student by calling him a robber. The reason he used the term was because the boy has stolen time away from us by being late to class. The teacher explained that everyone has a limited amount of time and when one wastes another’s time he is thief of a precious gift.
Sometimes I think the beginning of wisdom may be the realization that we are only here on earth for a limited time. When we begin to see that what we do in the unforgiving moment or in a joyous season is what matters most we then start to not waste our opportunities.
Even the way we talk about time is telling, we spend time but we also kill time. We pass time and yet we keep time. However, when we act as if there is a “time for every purpose,” then we come nearer divine time.
Yes, there is evil in the world, to rid the world of it is beyond our ability. But to give our time and talent to good is in a very real way defeating evil.
As we say goodbye to 2012 and hello to 2013 we are faced with what is lost and what is gained. We may well remember a saying from the poem De rosis nascentibus, “Non-collige virgo rosas,” (“Gather, girl, the roses.”). Knowing that while our days are numbered and that evil abounds but so does goodness. Let’s us all dedicate some of our finite minutes to do good.