EDITORIAL: Challenges ahead

As we face a new year, it's time to reaffirm our beliefs and underline our values

For many 2016 was a horrible year – one we can’t wait to see receding in the distance.

Some of us endured personal tragedies. Many of us witnessed societal tragedies – failures to protect the vulnerable, whether on our own doorsteps, the streets of our neighbours or in far distant lands.

For most of us, it was a year that challenged many long-held assumptions about political institutions, and about what were, until lately, perceived as common values. It was a year which shook to the core a previous faith in reason and fact prevailing over emotionalism, ignorance and greed.

To cap it all, the physical, and symbolic, loss of so many beloved and iconic personalities – more, it seemed, this year than others – made us all too conscious of our own brief span of life; reminded us of our own mortality.

But, in many ways, 2016 was a watershed year – one that establishes a dividing line between what has gone before and what must come, no matter how rocky a future we see that as being.

If our assumptions – comfortable as they were – were challenged, perhaps it was because they needed to be challenged. Perhaps only through adversity can we prove the inherent worth of our beliefs. If poisons and infections had taken root beneath the surface of our body politic, maybe it is better it was brought to light. There is no virtue in denial, after all, and diagnosis is the first step to effecting a cure.

This year two other iconic figures – the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu – collaborated on a new work, The Book of Joy.

Both have spent many of their own years enduring exile and the heel of oppression, but both speak eloquently of a fundamental human wish for happiness and an endlessly surprising desire among people to help make the world a better place.

Both emphasize that change begins not through individuals taking on all the daunting, overwhelming problems of the world at once, but in doing whatever we can manage, wherever we can manage it, to be a beacon for goodness and positivity.

As we stand at the threshold of a new year, it is time to reaffirm our beliefs, underline our values, and do our best to embody them in our actions – and reactions – to whatever 2017 throws us.

The challenge is – in words frequently, if incorrectly, attributed to Mahatma Gandhi – “to be the change we want to see in the world.”

When it comes to new year’s resolutions, we could do a lot worse.

 

Surrey North Delta Leader

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Surrey RCMP not seeing ‘significant loss’ in ranks because of COVID-19

Surrey Mounties say they have a good tracking system to keep tabs on police officers experiencing an illness

COVID-19: Daily update on the pandemic in Surrey, White Rock and beyond

APRIL 1: B.C.’s state of emergency extended, provincial health officer to provide update at 3 p.m.

Supreme Court upholds White Rock council decision on Lady Alexandra development

Planned 12-storey highrise on lower Johnston Road was stalled in 2018

No final high school game for Surrey all-stars; six scholarship winners named

COVID-19 forces cancellation of all-star games for boys and girls at Enver Creek gym April 3

B.C. records five new COVID-19 deaths, ‘zero chance’ life will return to normal in April

Province continue to have a recovery rate of about 50 per cent

Trudeau says Parliament needs to sit to pass expanded COVID-19 benefits

Both the prime minister and Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer have promised to donate their salary increase

UPDATE: Anti-tax group calls for MPs, senators to donate scheduled pay raises to charity

Bill C-30, adopted 15 years ago, mandates the salary and allowance increases each calendar year

Liberals delay release of 75% wage subsidy details, costs: Morneau

Program will provide up to $847 per week for each worker

World COVID-19 update: NATO suspicious of Russian military drills; Cruise ships ordered to stay at sea

Comprehensive update of coronavirus news from around the world for Wednesday, April 1

John Horgan extends B.C.’s state of emergency for COVID-19

Premier urges everyone to follow Dr. Bonnie Henry’s advice

UPDATE: 6.5-magnitude earthquake in Idaho shakes B.C. Interior

An earthquake was reportedly felt just before 5 p.m. throughout the Okanagan

Two inmates at prison housing Robert Pickton test positive for COVID-19

Correctional Service of Canada did not release any details on the identities of the inmates

B.C. heart surgery patient rarely leaves home

James Jepson is especially vulnerable to the novel coronavirus

Most Read