Blagg: Finding the positive side
What a stinker of a year!
It seems like every week of the last 52 has been marked by some sort of lousy news coming from somewhere.
Mass shootings, suicide bombers, natural disasters ... the toll in human lives and suffering has been enormous.
Frankly, the editors of The Recorder spent entirely too many afternoons sitting around the table in my office, looking at what we had for local news and stories from the wires, and trying to find something — anything — that wasn’t depressing.
Of course, we carry the news as it happens, and take that responsibility seriously, but we are also aware that there are positive things happening out there.
Children were found unharmed after being lost, long-lost siblings reunited, hard-working teens were rewarded by academic honors; there were plenty of happy endings to report.
But sometimes we had to look hard for them. That’s the nature of our business.
As the old saw goes, it’s not news when a dog DOESN’T bite a man.
And most of us were able to enjoy our own little triumphs and to glean some measure of comfort from those small but important mileposts we all enjoy.
Placing an older loved one in a safe, comfortable environment, watching a grandchild intent on discovering the world of reading, even sitting by a warm fire in a kitchen filled with delicious odors as the snow falls outside.
Yes, perhaps some were faced with the sad chore of breaking up a departed loved one’s home ... but even that task could be a reminder of a long life, filled with achievements, hobbies or letters from the past filled with love.
And there were new lives to celebrate — babies filled with promise, solemnly determined to master difficult things like conveying a tiny hand to a tiny mouth, enormous blue eyes surveying a gigantic world filled with wonderful things.
Couples were united, probably secretly frightened by the challenges of married life, but surrounded by friends and family — many of whom could demonstrate the rewards of meeting those future hurdles.
Perhaps that’s the way we should face this new year — ignoring the media-fueled hubbub of Washington politics, diplomatic set-tos, nuclear negotiations and incipient wars on the other side of the world.
Instead, we should resolve to focus on the small but positive things in our individual lives — to take the time to really look at that beautiful sunset, to treasure those precious moments with our children or grandchildren, to thank those who check us out in a local store or smile at a passerby.
The fact is that we can do little to affect the big stuff, but we can do plenty to turn each day into a positive memory. That’s well within our power.
And that’s worth doing.
Blagg has been Editor of The Recorder since 1986. He lives in Greenfield and is a military historian with an interest in local history. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 413-772-0261, ext. 250.