Wednesday, 28 December 2016

The Good Things in 2016

Life is a balance of good and evil (Keats). The mature, who have been through many of life’s unpredictable fluctuations see this most clearly. There are evidently many gloomy evaluations of 2016 but, in reality, it was only a year of evil and tragedy for those adversely affected by war, terrorism, poverty, illness, old age and violence. Without being Panglossian (“all’s for the best in the best of of all possible worlds”), I am determined not to forget its blessings. Personally, I can recall these:

Living standards
  • Food prices remained steady and there were many ‘bargains’ out there
  • Energy bills do not seem to be rising further 
  • Petrol is still affordable 
  • We are not in pain 
  • We do not suffer from depression or mental illness
  • We did not spend every day worrying about huge debts
  • There are ongoing jobs -  even if many, including our own, are underpaid.
  • One could afford a few nice meals out and a few treats.
Stability, politics, freedom and peace
  • My Member of Parliament saved me from near bankruptcy
  • We do not live in chaos, political and economic
  • The internet keeps us closely connected across the country and the world in virtual relationships
  • Democracy proved to be still alive - or at least no one suggested that the various national elections were ‘rigged’
  • The UK economy did not collapse as predicted and, in fact seems to be strengthening with employment levels rising.
Protecting The World
  • The UK came second in the world, after Denmark, for tackling climate change and reducing its carbon emissions. As I have been directly working on this for nearly ten years (and I am currently helping to spend hundreds more millions on reducing our carbon emissions from heat) I was rather delighted.
  • Pollution in London finally topped the political agenda. I have been a lone voice in the wilderness about the air in London for years, even writing twice to the Government and Mayor of London without much impact. Finally in 2016 the penny dropped with Londoners.
  • Our house was made safe and renovated/expanded in terms of living space almost free of charge due to a top insurer, the work carried out by good value, hard working British builders
  • We were not involved in any accidents (though we were momentarily scared in a lay by in France, when we thought our car was going to be hijacked)
  • All our prayers for safety and many for health (our own and others) were graciously answered, as were many prayers for wider and national issues
  • I got my mobility back, having lost it entirely for three weeks in the autumn which was scary. I even have a free hospital appointment to help stop it happening again.
Socially and spiritually
  • We did not end up 'entire' of ourselves, living on an island (though we recall that many people are in this lonely state and we sought to help some locally)
  • The Bible was read, preached and is reaching every nation through new translations
  • Christianity was not outlawed though persecution levels are rising in other countries 
  • We made new contacts locally and elsewhere keeping up with many people online and in person
  • I guided over a hundred enthusiastic people on historic tours in London (admittedly for free)
  • We gave or attended various memorable parties and concerts
  • We attended many church services and heard a few good sermons.
Leisure time and hobbies
  • Spring and summer were pleasant (not rained off)
  • We managed to afford a winter holiday in beautiful southern England, a budget summer holiday abroad and a trip to East Kent. We encountered the beauty of Mont Blanc, Reims Cathedral and Reculver.
  • I applied for and was offered part-time working to enable me to start my own projects and business
  • I discovered Edvard Grieg's piano music and I am playing some on a grand piano without complaints from the neighbours.
  • Shakespeare’s death was well, if not over-celebrated.
We are thankful to God for all this.

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