I thought I’d drop in for a minute to say “hi”. I perhaps haven’t ever said how much I appreciate each of you – those who read and share and engage and respond, my companions in this unorthodox journey of life. It’s never as easy as it seems when you’re a child, is it? But who would want it to be? My four-year-old teaches me that every day. His roller-coaster of emotions and needs. His crazy requests and his even crazier comments; this morning he wanted to be an octopus while mama was a whale. Yesterday he was a superhero fighting against evil; and the day before he was a painter. I love him, as I love my wife and my family and I know that there’s nothing I would exchange for this – my life. Yes, even sleep and free a minute of day without some form of noise.
This year has been a wild and amazing ride. I’ve been blessed by a chance at great significance, being put in places where I can stand alongside others as we together fight great evil; and this year has been no different. I’ve had a chance to get out a bit, stretch my legs in a world that has become smaller, at least for some of us; Paris and Germany and Africa – again. America’s southwest – home. I published my third novel, which was so much fun – and I love the sense of expectation and hope that I get each morning that this is the day it will bolt to the top of Amazon’s best-seller list. My son turned four – started to ride a bicycle; started school. Learned to say things like “entropy” and ask what’s inside of bones. We moved, and moved, and moved again and finally – as I sit here – I can say that I have found some rest and some acceptance. They say you know you’re old when you finally fit in your skin; and my skin has never felt snugger.
Great things have happened. Our strong country is in the process of righting itself after having lost her way. We hope that this will mean an end to the wars and the bitterness; and a return of a Pax Humana, led as always by America – if we can hold it. Lady Liberty is wise, something that we forget when we fret about what is on the front pages of the papers and lose our understanding of the lakes and the mountains and the endless expanses of our home, of my home.
Bad things have happened too. Evil is strong, stronger than it has been in a while – as we’ve seen this year in so many places, which has made this year bittersweet. Freedom House has called this year a democratic recession; and more refugees are on the move than at any time since the Second World War. For the first time in my lifetime a South American country has failed. Forty years back. This year Venezuela, which has tried to commit suicide so many times, finally succeeded. Aleppo, which needs no introduction. Like Srebrenica – it will go down in history as a tragedy married to a word, the name of a place that will bring out tears and elicit comments like “where were you during Aleppo”. The oldest continuously inhabited city; 12,000 years of families and celebrations. The rise and fall of religions, kingdoms, civilizations. Did you know that? Destroyed by Assad, one man keen on holding onto his rubble-kingdom ended 12,000 years of history; while we watched.
Nevertheless here, as we stand on the cusp of another year – and for myself another decade – I am excited. Because this year is the year that, after twenty years of fighting, we start to turn the tide. Against the socialists, because the process of that ideology’s secondary decay is well advanced – until next time, alas. But also against the Islamists; whose bombs will grow silent in the New Year, of this I am certain. Because there are great voices that have risen up, who will no longer be silent, who are bringing their old civilizations to the cusp of reformation. But more importantly even, for those of us who wish to live in free societies, we will at last stand against those who seek to order us about, to tell us how to live even though we know that in their orders are found an uncommon foolishness. The thought police who are so thoughtless – myopic in their folly. And it is the year that we start again to talk about the persecution of Christians around the world; in our attempts to protect this faith that is under such assault all over; and in doing so, we will regain our soul.
Like I said I’m optimistic about next year – as I hope you are. It’s gonna be a great year! May God bless you, and may you find that in 2017 your cup is overflowing with more than your measure of life; and a life more abundant!