And I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year:
"Give me a light, that I may tread safely into the unknown!"
And he replied:
"Go out into the darkness and put your hand into the Hand of God.
That shall be to you better than light and safer than a known way!'And here we do indeed stand at the Gate of a New Year. The new year, now advancing upon us with such determined and eager strides shall be called "2012". In due course it will itself become the old year and we shall wave it good bye with the same mixture of fondness and regret with which we now let go of its predecessor, "2011". But for now at least, all is new. Fresh possibilities offer themselves with courage and daring. Hope stirs us at our depths even as we emerge from the old year, dog-tired and trodden upon.
We have seen enough New Years to know we have no control over what will come our way in 2012, but we can surely do better than stand at the Gate of the year, empty-handed and forlorn. Let us at least ask ourselves what to take with us into the unknown.
There is a game, a game of quite serious intent. It is known as the "Balloon" game. We are asked to imagine ourselves hundreds of feet up in the basket of a Balloon, sailing high over dangerous, raging seas. Around us in our balloon are not only the possessions of a lifetime but our friends, our habits and our principles, that mish-mash of things that help us feel we belong here. The balloon starts to lose height and we are asked to discard one thing after another to prevent our being thrown into the raging waters.
We've probably all played this game at one time or another. Have we got the time, the inclination, the courage, to play it just once more as we stand here at the Gate of another New Year? Beneath us, not the raging of the ocean, but the apathy, the misunderstanding and even the enmity of the world through which we will travel in 2012. What one item will see us safe to the farthest shore where lies safety, even salvation?
As is my wont, I shall read Hardy's "Darkling Thrush" today, but I hope I shall also find time to clear the floor of the basket under my balloon. I shall be trying to take with me not necessarily the things I have been told, but the one thing I hold most dear, which I think I have expressed in the picture. Then I shall be ready when the call goes up, "we have lift-off".