by Kathie England

Who Can We Be as We Look Toward 2024?

Despite the many challenges we continue to face – wars in Ukraine and Gaza, our warming planet, the public health crisis of gun violence, and attacks that threaten to undermine our democracy – I still believe in hope! Hope in Who We Can Be!

Rereading one of my favorite books this year, The Art of Possibility, inspired me to explore again what is possible.

In the introduction to their book, the Zanders propose three questions I encourage each of us to ponder as we look toward 2024:

  • What is one limiting assumption that you realize you carry?
  • What is one story you tell yourself about who you are and how the world works?
  • What is one new definition you might develop about who you are and what you are here for?

In 2020, the On Being podcast inspired me to modify the Prayer of St. Francis, the Prayer of Peace, to include a loving kindness meditation. My goal was to make it more inclusive so it might better connect with individuals of diverse beliefs and cultures. I continue this tradition for my December 2023 post and invite us to ponder it in the context of the three questions posed by the Zanders.

May this Loving Kindness Meditation inspire us to continue to imagine what is possible and to discover Who We Can Be!

  • Make me an instrument of peace.
  • Where there is hatred, let me bring love.
  • Where there is offense, let me bring pardon.
  • Where there is discord, let me bring union.
  • Where there is error, let me bring truth.
  • Where there is doubt, let me bring faith.
  • Where there is despair, let me bring hope.
  • Where there is darkness, let me bring light.
  • Where there is sadness, let me bring joy.
  • May I not seek as much to be consoled, as to console.
  • May I seek not as much to be understood, as to understand.
  • May I seek not as much to be loved, as to love.
  • May it be in giving that I learn to receive.
  • May it be in pardoning that I allow myself to be pardoned.

May I be happy, may I be healthy, may I be at peace.

May you be happy, may you be healthy, may you be at peace.

These precious moments – in Ann Patchett’s book Tom Lake, she invites us to be present and appreciate these precious moments as Emily Webb discovered at the end of Our Town. In the third act of Our Town, Emily asks the Stage Manager, “Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it? – every, every minute?”

May we, like Emily, finally realize and appreciate every, every minute! May we embrace this perspective to help find the courage to take many small steps in 2024 to be Who We Can Be!