The Grounding of the Kullik (video)+Is it Stupid to Hope in a New Year?

 On New Year's Eve, when guests were still arriving at my house to game and toast and cheer their way from one year into the next, a 400 million dollar oil drilling platform, the "Kullik" washed ashore near Kodiak Island. The national news reports described the weather as "severe," the seas as "savage."  600 people were employed trying to gain control of the rig, to no avail. The massive lines kept snapping in the monstrous seas of the "violent storm." We are praying, all of us, that the platform does not smash on the rocks and leach poison on our beaches yet again.

The weather has been particularly severe the last two months. Our house has shuddered under howling winds and slicing snow and rain for weeks, swelling the seas to waves no one can tame or even ride. 

The news hasn't been a whole lot better.

In our little daily Kodiak paper, the headlines this new week in this new year sound so much like the headlines from other years.

On Christmas Day, a 20 year old man fell to his death while ice climbing on a mountain near town.

Friends lost their house and all their possessions to a fire that gutted their home.

A young man was washed overboard from a fishing boat and lost.

The news from others places is just as bad. No, worse. 

And still we gather in warm lit houses and eat spanokopita and nut mixes and put on funny hats and blow honkers and confetti and blow up rockets and firebombs in our driveways and act as if our silliness and our noise will turn the tide and dislodge the platform, calm the weather and make the world a better place this time around. Or that somehow these rites will make us better, stronger, happier and smarter. We do this every year, though nothing seems to change.

Are we just naive-----or stupid? Can the world really get better? Can we believe that people will somehow grow less violent, more loving? Can we really tear off the calendar taped to our fridges and think the new white boxes around days yet to come will be worth waking up to and worth walking through, hour by hour, workday by workday, meal by meal? Can oranges still taste sweet, can the ocean lullabye, can our jobs fulfill, can we treat the earth with righteous, tender care, can we lay in our beds at night knowing at least one of the day's promises has been kept? 

Almost exactly a year ago I started Far a-Field Notes, carving out this space with these words:

To everything there is a season, and 

a time to every purpose under heaven: 

A time to be born, and a time to die; 
A time to kill, and a time to heal; 
a time to break down, and a time to build up; 

A time to get, and a time to lose; 
a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; 
a time for war and a time for peace.

I think back over the year and remember---yes, there was a time for silence. There was a time for death, and casting away. And I have spoken, too, here in this place, and in others. There have been births and healing and keeping. The oranges did taste sweet--some days. Promises were kept. I ate enough---and often I ate well. I saw something about war----and I made a few small peaces. 

I don't know what your new year will bring---nor mine. But I am deciding to trust all the years and times behind me, and trust the "purposes under heaven."  And hope that you can as well. 

It was not in naivete but in faith that I lifted my glass to my neighbors gathered in a circle as the fireworks exploded in the cold winter wind overhead, even as the Kullik hit the rocks and lodged yet deeper under savage seas . . . we clinked our glasses, looked at each other and looked to heaven and asked that this year be a time and a season for faith and hope and love in increasing measure. We often cannot change the times, but we can ourselves be changed.

I ask the same for you: For this Time, this Season, this Year: For Faith, Hope and Love in increasing measure. Overflowing. 

My dear friend Jeanne Murray Walker---overflowing.