At The Threshold of January 2019

As I don my exercise clothes with renewed resolve again on Jan. 1, I start simmering black-eyed peas for luck, tackle my Quicken, and clean up the post-holiday flotsam.

Tossing out Christmas cards, I have to chuckle at my own card with all my grandchildren in their red and green T-shirts with their stenciled names while the oldest two girls are giggling wildly. They have pranked that rare photo op by exchanging shirts, which was only discovered at the printer.

Later they escaped with my iPad to see if they could download the verboten app, Snapchat (They couldn’t).

As their pre-teen bodies change and bloom, I realized that the days of bedtime songs and stories no longer apply: They want facials and spa baths. Soon enough the roller coaster of adolescence will start. They are on the threshold of tweens.

2019 is the last “teen” year in the new millennium.

Will this year’s segue into 2020 presage less societal teenaged behavior? Less rants, Twitter wars, rage, entitlement, and incivility?

There are hopeful signs perhaps. When George and Barbara Bush died the paeans of praise came from all political camps, nostalgic for their fundamental decency, strong family values, dedication to service, moderation, and compassion.

John McCain was praised at his funeral for his courageous patriotism and personal integrity.

Such was the success of the docudrama of Fred Roger’s life that none other than Mr. Nice Guy, Tom Hanks, will play him soon in the movie showcasing everything that is best about loving kindness to children.

Is it any wonder given the chaos that Mary Poppins is being revived in theatres?

Over the holidays we rediscovered C.S. Lewis’ classic tale The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe in which the children discovered, upon entering an old wardrobe, a threshold to the Kingdom of Narnia. Who doesn’t love the allure of a secret portal? The panel in the library wall that, when pushed, reveals a mysterious staircase, the forgotten walled garden overgrown with vines, or the thin places where the spiritual seems near?

Again we toss out the old calendar and stand on the threshold of a new year. Can we step over into a 2019 that matures from the adolescent economic, social, and political swings to a calmer, more thoughtful place? It can only start with self and one day at a time. Only 364 days left to try!

Len Bourland can be reached for comment at [email protected]

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