Wednesday, December 3, 2014

From the Necessary to the Impossible

We're already had the first Sunday of Advent-that's how quickly this year has flown by. I see it as an eye blink and half, your mileage may vary. All the plans, schemes and dreams we talked about this time last year are (at best) memories and not ones looked back with any especial fondness and, I hate to say this, we have only ourselves to blame.

At the risk of boring you, I'll offer again that the difference between a rut and a grave is too often only the depth of the habit. In the nearly two and half decades I've lived here, I've enjoyed the oft-told tales of the construction of the Cathedral of Saint Patrick and how Norwich came to be the home of the world-famous Thermos bottle. When I try to imagine what life in Norwich was like 'back in the day' I am reminded of a lyric from a favorite Bob Dylan song that offers, "starry-eyed and laughing."

But today when I look in the mirror as well as out of my window in place of reckless abandon I see a wistful pessimism that we wrap ourselves in almost as a protective garment to lessen the cold and shock of unexpected disappointment, not fully appreciating that by so planning we make everything expected. The great thing about being a pessimist, as we all know, is you can only be surprised, and never disappointed.

And here we are, as 2014 starts to fade, still stuck standing where we were this time a year ago which, in case you decided to not notice, is very similar to where we were the year before that. Going in circles is surrender, not a movement, and it seems to me when I listen to people talk among themselves at meetings I attend, we focus on what we can lose rather than what we can gain. Efforts to enhance our city's quality of life stagnant while we temporize as does our municipal grand list.

Remember 2014's budget arguments at City Council hearings and letters to the newspapers and phone calls to the radio station? How the City Council told us 'it was the toughest budget year in a long time?' That should have sounded familiar because a similar City Council had said those same words the year before and-say it with me-you already know what will be said this Spring. And they are right, but....

The Germans say "Fear makes the wolf bigger than he is" and for many of us, fear is already so large we can ride it like a horse. It is that fear of doing anything that keeps us from doing something. But if each of us makes and takes one step for ourselves and our neighborhood, all of us together can go farther than our dreams might otherwise dare to.      

Francis of Assisi, not the first community organizer but he should have been, offered this to help us get to 2015: "Start by doing what's necessary; then do what's possible. Suddenly you are doing the impossible."
-bill kenny

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