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Life as performance art

Life as performance art


By Fr. G. Corwin Stoppel

January was named after the Roman double-faced god, Janus, who could look both forward and backward.

We do a lot of that this time of year. Even before New Year’s there were articles and broadcasts about people we “lost” (i.e. died) during 2018.

We’ll go through our Christmas cards one last time, reviewing adventures of friends and family. We’ll remember more moments. And of course we’ll look forward to at least one, if not two, weeks of the annual review in The Commercial Record.

As we look forward to the next 12 months, perhaps with anxiety and excitement, what is unknown can be spooky. There are no guarantees about the economy, international relations, weather or anything else. All we know is there will be changes.

What will not change is the vast majority of us still believe good and goodness win, at least in the end. During the holiday seasons we have been reminded of that via Christmas carols, sometimes-sappy Hallmark movies or even comedies. We watch “It’s a Wonderful Life” over and over, perhaps because we believe that.

Almost any person or organization can spew toxic negativity and criticism, sometimes mixed with misleading statements or innuendo. It’s the gossip people use to destroy lives or reputations of another people. It can be as simple as a carefully-chosen adjective or adverb. Pay your money and take your choice of which weapon you want to use,

It is destructive but only for so long. Then we come to our senses and decide we have had enough venom being ladled out, reject it and want something better.

That’s one reason I like history. We can see these trends, almost like a sine wave of negativity coming into prominence, then they sink away.

Every time our nation, as with our community, heard the doomsayers preach negativity, we turned around and created something better.

Here, for example, we went from logging to fishing to fruit growing to becoming a tourist destination. Any one of those major changes could have been the end of us. Instead, optimism and hope led us into something new.

So we’ll enjoy a week or so of looking back, then focus on the future. The wonderful thing about Janus was he might have had two sets of eyes on his two faces, but just one brain. We remember the past and learn from it as we look to what is about to happen.