The winter solstice, Christmas and other seasonal celebrations are all approaching, and pundits of all types are, no doubt, composing lofty judgements about 2017. Meanwhile, I suspect I am not the only person left confused by, frustrated with and even annoyed at the many events contained within the year that is ending.
Many people in this world continue to suffer because of local economic, political and religious conflicts, some made worse by international rivalries and competing ideologies. Those with little or nothing have been exploited for personal gain and gratification, often by people to whom they have turned for help. Victims have been ignored or blamed for the situation they were forced to experience. Accidents and natural disasters have been made more acute by lack of governmental planning or inadequate infrastructure. The systems and resources of this world continue to be either ignored or misused while politicians and business leaders repeat phrases such as: “lessons will be learnt” and “these things will not be allowed to happen again” but without evidence that this is anything other than a way of deflecting criticism.
It is perhaps understandable that some claim life is an accident that tends to bring more misery than happiness. Nonetheless, during the year there have been people who have responded in an extraordinary way to help when faced by the challenges created by the events that have caused death, injury, bereavement and distress. Meanwhile, yet others have carried on showing qualities such as service, compassion and goodness and not just to those who are easy to love or reward them in return.
To offer something positive, I have added to this web site the paper: ‘Who am I and why am I here?’, which is based on my own experience but perhaps more importantly that of people giving evidence to an enquiry conducted for the British National Health Service. I hope that some visitors will also look at ‘Money and Sustainability’ to remind themselves that money is a tool that can be used to encourage beneficial development and enrich the lives of many and not just a few lucky or greedy people.
I hope you enjoy these suggestions and the most recent pictures, showing above, and can step into 2018 in a spirit of hope and expectation of better things to come. Maybe you will have been cheered by an unexpected welcome to a seasonal event or will have, perhaps without your knowledge, lifted the spirits of a stranger. I wish you love and peace for the end of this year and the new one to come.