• Maggie Wheeler

To Set Our House in Order

Earlier this month, I found myself at Santa’s Workshop in North Pole, New York (It’s a long story). I grew up watching the commercials for the attraction on PBS station WNPE WNPI Norwood. Never made it, until 50 years later. It was still magical to see, especially watching the small children amazed at all the little houses, the rides, the elves, the reindeer, and—of course—Santa. In a world of electronic gizmos and disappearing attention spans, Santa still delivers!

It got me thinking about timeless values and human touchstones.

The past couple of years have been strenuous for the world at large. So much that we once took for granted seems to be evaporating or (what is more disturbing) may never have been what we thought at all. These are strange days indeed, and they have been wearing on many levels for most of us.

Yet, as we approach the end of 2019, I sense a growing energy in people. This is not just a new year starting in a few weeks but a whole new decade. I feel and hear around me a shared excitement about turning a major page. Yes, we know that time is a human construct, but the dawn of a new decade seems to be giving people the line in the sand we need to stop the downward spiral the past few years have felt like. Perhaps it is as simple as that we have had enough. The negativity, the bad behavior, the apathy, the selfishness have all become old to us. We want better. We need better. Most important, we know inside that we are better.

The new year (and new decade) is the time to set our house in order. To remember and revisit that which survives: honesty, integrity, civility, commitment, faith, hope, charity. Values that seem to be swept away lately. But don’t believe what you are told or what you think you see. For those of us past the half-century mark, we have fifty years of experience at hand on which to lean our backs as we take on the daily legerdemain designed to make us doubt what we know and—more important—what we choose to believe in.

For people of all beliefs, this is the season of faith. And faith, as we remember from the Christmas classic Miracle on 34th Street, is believing when common sense tells you not to. Common sense may not be as common as it once was, but like Santa at his Workshop in North Pole, New York, it is still there. Put it back on the dashboard beside faith and watch the magic return.

As the holiday season unfolds, I wish you these:

special time with family you love and good friends who make you smile,

a walk in nature to renew your connection with the Earth,

a quiet moment to see the abundance in your life and feel true gratitude for all that you have,

a silent night to renew your secret dreams and create new ones,

an opportunity to help another who is struggling,

a chance to forgive and move forward.

For this new year and new decade, let’s commit to setting our houses in order, all the houses in which we live. Our hearts, our spirits, our homes, our families, our health, our communities, our nations, our planet. Almost without exception, from personal relationships right up to global warming, the challenges and “messes” in our houses are those which we created or allowed. Common sense says we can also clean them up. Faith says we will.

We own this, pure and simple. Let’s do it.

Safe and happy holidays to everyone. Looking forward to rockin’ the 20s with you!

Talk next year,


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