As 2021 comes to an end, it is good to take stock on where we are in our personal and collective lives.
1. Our family has survived the pandemic so far, though I have lost four friends since November 2020, and know of several others who've died. I also know several long-haulers who have never fully recovered.
2. I worked part-time at Heartland Center for Spirituality and plan to do so in 2022. This will be my 25th year at the retreat center.
3. Lisa and I celebrated 45 years of marriage and cannot believe that number is real.
4. We had a new grandchild -- Luke Daniel St. Romain -- our 7th.
5. I delight in meeting with my spiritual directees, all wonderful people eagerly seeking to grow in the Spirit. Such a privilege!
6. Writing slowed down as I await new inspirations. I tried facilitating a few book discussions online, and might do some more.
7. I still enjoy pulling my RV trailer out to a state park and doing a bit of birding, hiking and fishing. These little nature retreats are so very helpful!
8. I saw 173 species of birds in KS this year, an all-time high for me. No, it wasn't a KS Big Year, not even close, and I didn't work that hard at it. Just got out a little more and lucked out on a few sightings.
9. Started making sourdough bread, and love it. This will continue, and I will renew my wine-making in 2022.
10. Hopefully, a better garden in 2022, although I had a banner parsley crop. Yes . . . parsley!
A few broad positive changes
1. Most schools are having in-person classes. I hope they can continue.
2. The various Covid vaccines seem to provide significant protection against serious illness and death.
3. Donald Trump is not President, and a commission investigating the events of January 6th 2020 may well end up sending him to jail.
4. Biden's first year in office is fair to decent, overall, with plenty of room for improvement.
Social and political life in the U.S.
1. Although the majority of Americans have received Covid-19 vaccines, some 25% or so are adamantly opposed. They comprise the overwhelming majority of Covid hospitalizations and deaths, burdening our healthcare resources, and allowing the virus fertile ground to continue mutating. I've tried dialoguing with many of these anti- and non-vaxxers. What they all have in common is a deep mistrust for public health agencies (CDC, FDA) and an attitude formed by misinformation.
This is not likely to change in 2022.
2. Some 40% or so of Republicans still believe Trump really won the 2020 election. They allege massive fraud encompassing thousands and thousands of county and state election officials, not to mention voting machine companies like Dominion. It is impossible to reason with them as well (coincidentally, many are also non-vaxxers). Republican politicians have to contend with this, for they cannot win without these cultic Trump supporters, who are something of a smelly albatross hung around their necks.
3. Donald Trump continues to lie and lie and lie about everything, but most especially about the 2020 election. Somehow I got on his email lists and have hundreds of BS emails from him about it all, with requests that I give him my money to help "Save America." He's running again, and Republicans are stuck with him, for worser or worst!
4. Speaking of Republicans, they want us to "move on" from Trump's efforts to stage a coup after the 2020 election. Pence says January 6th was just a bad day in our nation -- sort of like a bad hair day -- but we need to look toward the future. Violent coup attempts that threatened him and congress are nothing to focus on. These things happen, you see.
5. Republicans in the Texas legislature found a way to criminalize abortions after six weeks of pregnancy, only civilians are the ones to enforce the law.
"Say what, now?!"
You heard me! And watch for slippery slope developments.
6. Yes, a very busy year for Republicans, as they "tightened up" voting laws in states where they rule. This will be good for everyone, especially minority groups. (wink, nod)
7. And climate change! We finally did it -- came up with a comprehensive national policy that connects with a hard-nosed global policy that will stabilize and eventually reverse carbon emissions!
But, hey, we will have snow in Wichita tomorrow. What global warming?!
8. A Democratic Senator named Joe Manchin is being blamed for thwarting President Biden's efforts to provide for a range of programs to help working Americans, as well as climate change initiatives. Bleah on Joe Manchin! But let's not forget that not one single Republican has offered to meet Biden halfway on any of these initiatives. Two Republican Senate votes could pass the legislation, but that won't happen.
9. I could go on blasting Republicans (I used to vote for them way back when . . . ) but there are other things deserving mention here. Like the Kansas City Chiefs football team continuing to play very, very well. I think they're hoping for a re-match against Brady and the Bucs.
All that said, and much unsaid. . .
Happy New Year anyway, and know that God is with us, loving us NOW and always.This message has been edited. Last edited by: Phil,
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