Well, you certainly made and left your mark, didn’t you? You were a year that threw us off balance and pushed our limits. You caused us to question, to reassess, to pivot, and propelled us to make difficult decisions. You tested our patience, humanity, empathy, resolve, and relationships, and true to your contradictory nature you simultaneously brought us together and pulled us apart.
You claimed way too many of us.
But amidst the loss, uncertainty, and instability, you demonstrated over and over again that the human spirit is one of hope and resilience; that faith in what we are capable of and what we can achieve is not easily extinguished.
So good-bye to you, 2020. So long. A new year and all the good that it potentially holds is in the wings. Peace out!
I’m so pleased that The Protectors’ Pledge is among the books being used in T&T secondary schools as part of Bocas Lit Fest and Scotiabank Trinidad and Tobago’s The Write Away! young adult literature project (Virtual creative writing workshops accessible through the T&T Ministry of Education’s School Learning Management System). More information about this fantastic initiative facilitated by the amazing Lisa Allen-Agostini can be found here: The Write Away Young Adult Literature Project
2019 will be a year of courage. For some it will take the form of stepping into the unknown and pursuing an opportunity or dream, while for others it will be to finally say no to a situation that has gone on for too long. May our eyes and minds be open to recognize our own times of strength and the particular brand of courage that others possess.
It will be a year of learning. There are those who will learn how to be still and really listen, and others whose triumph will lie in discovering their voice and raising it to be heard. For the benefit of ourselves and others, may we carve out time for introspection, reflection, and constructive interaction.
2019 will also be a year of adjustment: of perhaps welcoming new members into families, groups, and tribes, or adapting to the painful reality of life after the loss of someone dear. May we be blessed to receive support and love when we are in need and be in a position to provide them to others when needed.
For all of us, I hope that this is a year of growth, clarity of purpose, and discernment. May our moments of joy far exceed any of sadness, and may the sense of optimism and hope that we feel during this first week of January never dip too low during the next twelve months.
Here’s to remembering that there’s at least one person or thing for whom/which we can be thankful –today and every day– and that our smiles, words of kindness and wisdom, as well as our actions can be someone else’s blessing.
Are we at the stage where we need to watch a person’s story unfold on screen—a big screen enhanced by surround sound, with each moment of drama, angst, hope, fear, and disillusionment perfectly matched with accompanying music and sound effects—before we can see that individual’s humanity and recognise it as equal to our own and deserving of the very same rights, protections, dignity, and aid that we would expect and demand for ourselves, our friends, and families?
Will we be flocking to see a film, years from now, about a family, perhaps like yours or mine, forced to abandon everything that at one point symbolized security and safety, grasp at whatever opportunity for survival is presented, and flee in terror? Will we choke up when its members are separated from each other and are forced to leave loved ones behind? Will we cheer and pump our fists when what’s left of that family defies all odds and boards a plane to safety; and then weep, shocked and aghast, when, upon arriving at the expected safe harbour, they are denied entry and put back on a plane to the very nightmare that, only moments before, they were thanking God that they had escaped?
What do you think? A five star rating? Lots of Oscar nominations?
There are countless stories: those of refugees, green card holders, visitors, and persons on student and work visas. All with lives. All with human rights. Persons like us.
Thank you to all the women whose sacrifices and struggles have paved the way; to those whose love nurtures, provides strength, and sustains; and to those who, in their own unique fashion, make this life that much better.