Back in the bad old days, Queen Elizabeth II spoke of annus horribilis. For those of you who did not enjoy years of high school Latin, allow me to translate: annus horribilis means horrible year. The phrase first appeared around 1891 in an Anglican publication. It was used to describe 1870, the year in which the Roman Catholic church defined the dogma of papal infallibility. Queen Elizabeth was referring to 1992, a year during which several of her offspring and/or their spouses managed to splay their names, reputations, and shenanigans all over the headlines. She remarked, “1992 is not a year on which I shall look back with undiluted pleasure. In the words of one of my more sympathetic correspondents, it has turned out to be an annus horribilis.” Liz, I feel your pain.
Even though 2018 was not an unqualified success, it still had its high points. But because I aspire to be a better person, I am trying to live in the moment and not dwell on the unpleasantness behind us. Although shepherding a sunny outlook for the future does not define living in the moment, it’s my way of keeping hope alive. Since this column appears on New Year’s Eve, a traditional day for cock-eyed optimists (with apologies to Rodgers and Hammerstein), I have allowed myself that much literary license. And since I am in such an expansive mood, I reached out to others for their ideas on what would make for a better world.
While writing this, I was communicating with a friend who suffered his own losses in 2018. Yet he remains unfailingly kind, helpful, cheerful, caring, and generous. When I asked for his input about keeping hope alive, this is what he wrote: I hope for a love without end. I hope for fresh water. I hope for clean air to breathe. I hope no soldier is ever needed. I hope for common decency among people. I hope for humans to become more aware. I hope for government to become for the people again. I hope the flowers always bloom. I hope all people have a room and a roof. I hope we see our true worth. I hope that time never stands still. I hope that children know they’re needed. I hope the elderly never feel unwanted.
As difficult as it seemed to improve upon that, I sought one more opinion. He said his hope was to have as many quality days as possible … no more, no less.
In the face of those two noble contributions, I would like to offer my own humble prose.
So, in no particular order:
I hope this country can find its way through this malignant bout of bipartisanship and discover a middle ground that will permit us to persevere. The average democracy has a shelf life of 240 years. We’re already on borrowed time. My fear is that our sacred democracy will fail due to a seriously polarized Congress being unable to accomplish what is needed for us to not only survive but to thrive.
I hope the tens of thousands of ragged refugees find succor somewhere. I hope the sheer number of the tired, the poor, and the huddled masses do arrive at a place they can settle their yearning and breathe free.
I hope every person on this earth can feel and appreciate the astonishing power of love.
I hope the Golden Rule is indeed a rule and not the exception.
I hope the overwhelming atmosphere of unquestioned righteousness that leads those afflicted to be unapproachable about their country, their religion, their god, their neighborhood, their color, their gender, their sexual orientation can be tempered by tolerance.
I hope for happiness.
I hope for serenity.
I hope for peace of mind.
I hope for peace.
Marla Boone resides in Covington and writes for the Troy Daily News and Piqua Daily Call.