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Hope for a new year

Clifton beach in Pakistan
Clifton beach in Pakistan
AP Photo/Shakil Adil

You need no news outlet to inform you that the past year has carried with it hardships. 533,000 jobs were lost in the month of November 2008 alone--before the year even kicked off or the new president had a chance to assume the high office. When 2009 did officially come, it brought with it the worst one-month shedding of jobs in thirty-five years. With all the criticisms this column has directed at our new president, in fairness, he was setup from jump. Yet, to those of you who take the time to read this column daily, or even this one time, the word for today is hope.

May the columnist have your permission to step down from the normative state of aloofness? Thank you. The columnist is much like all of you. He has big dreams, high hopes and a desire to genuinely serve humanity. It is this desire that lead him to start his own nonprofit. His commitment is, simply, to eradicate homelessness. His passion is fueled by a burden for the poor, hatred of poverty and righteous indignation against injustice. However, that type of career isn't the most profitable. Further, a severe economic downturn is not exactly the best environment to solicit support from people. To put it simply, like many of you, the columnist, or should I say I, am without an income too.

Having said this, a challenge is extended to anyone to search the heights and depths of the columnist's soul and find despair. A challenge is given to find a hint of doubt. A challenge is extended, even with all that is presently amiss, to find a place in the heart of the one writing where "quit" resides. It is only fair that you be warned in advance that such things do not exist. They don't exist because the sun has risen this morning and the night has passed. A new morning arrived today and for this we should all rejoice. A new dawn has greeted us and for this, we should all be grateful. This simple illustration from nature teaches us a truth that is far greater than the brutal realities of our political economy. It is a truth that we should each carry into the new year.

The very fact that the sun rose this morning simply means that we have a new day full of new data. The data may be good, the data may be bad. Either way, it is indeed new and for that, we ought to be grateful. The bad data from yesterday has passed and we live to receive the new. It is worth noting that there are many who went to sleep last night who never saw the sun this morning. They have taken to the grave. We are here and await this new data. What we seldom consider is the fact that all we need is one piece of data to change everything. Was it not one idea by the founding fathers that birthed a nation? Was it not one solemn idea by the abolitionists that brought down the institution of slavery? Was it not one idea of automation that made Henry Ford an American legend?

In the same way, I challenge each of you to live in expectation this year of that one piece of data that will change everything. Many of you aspire to careers in business but live in despair in the present. Why do you not believe that at any moment a single piece of new data can change the climate of business in America? Many of you aspire to attain educational credentials but can't seem to find the funding. Do you not understand that all it takes is one yes to pave the way for you? Many of you suffer inwardly because you don't believe you are loved. As you look into the sky, see the sun and realize that the love of one can annul the hatred of legions. Hope. Joy. Liberty. These are the words that highlight a new soundtrack you are challenged to play as the new year dawns.

If you will grant liberty, there is but one more point that must be spoken of. It must be stated at the outset that the columnist vehemently holds that religion and politics have their own separate spheres. If religion can inform politics in a way that is meaningful and works for the common good, fine. In most other cases, not so fine. Having said this, there is a place for faith for those who desire it. The first century Christian philosopher and herald Paul, illustrates this beautifully. While awaiting his execution at the hands of the Romans, Paul was completely without fear. Even in a cell, awaiting his executioner's call, Paul boldly said, "I am not ashamed, because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him for that day."

Knowing in whom he believed gave Paul strength and an unreserved hope in the face of death. In the face of recessions, politics and injustice, we can still thrive this year. Live in hope people. All we need is one piece of data.

Tune in tomorrow for our first interview with one of Georgia's candidates for Governor