Ask around, and you’ll likely find people talking about how 2016 was a “bad year.”
It’s not just people talking either. Take a look online.
If you type “Why was 2016” into Google right now, the top auto-fill result is “Why was 2016 such a bad year?”.
The think-pieces started in the summer (like this July Slate article or this one in Foreign Policy magazine) culminating in end-of-year reviews both rueful and resolute. Venture onto social media, and you’ll find the “me at the beginning of 2016” meme floating around.
It’s easy to see why this year felt so discouraging to so many. Everywhere we turned, the news media seemed to be reporting about turmoil, disaster, or outrage.
Those things that made you feel upset or discouraged or angry or scared—those things were real. But they weren’t the only things that happened this year.
Here’s a very very short list of some of the positive things that happened in 2016:
- On the world stage, Columbia signed a peace deal to end over 50 years of armed conflict and thousands of Nigerian hostages were freed from Boko Haram, including a partial release of Chibok schoolgirls who were kidnapped over two years ago.
- Just this week, it was reported that successful medical trials of an effective Ebola vaccine meant it could be fast-tracked and available by 2018.
- There were amazing scientific discoveries, like confirmation of gravitational waves, a new ninth planet in our solar system, a second quasi-moon orbiting earth, and a potentially habitable exoplanet only 4.3 light years away.
- This year, we saw some notable species taken off the endangered list, including manatees, green sea turtles, giant pandas and humpback whales.
- There were promising advances in technology from the first successful circumnavigation of a solar powered plane to developments in quantum computing to the creation of pigment-separating glasses to cure colorblindness.
- In the face of injustice, people took to the streets in peaceful protest, made their voices heard, and labored for change.
Finding Hope in the Stories of Our Customers
There are still many causes for concern about our environment, our civil society & our civic institutions. But there many more reasons to look at 2016 as a year for hopefulness.
To be sure, there were times this year when I felt discouraged, scared, or devastated by some horrible twist in the plot line of 2016. But still, I look back on this year and feel a tremendous sense of hope.
Every time I received an encouraging email from a customer saying how much they believe in our mission.
Every time I talked with someone at a craft show or online about how making smart, healthy choices for her skin care was the first step towards positive changes in her life.
Filled with Hope and Ready to Work for a Better 2017
We started this new year with a big dream. We knew it would require hard work and patience to grow that seed of a dream into a reality. But we couldn’t have imagined the amazing fruit that would be borne out by that dream.
And it couldn’t have come at a better time.
St. Francis of Assisi said, “All the darkness in the world cannot extinguish the light of a single candle.” I think of those words whenever the news seems filled with darkness. I find solace in the thought of a tiny candle casting light into that darkness. I find hope in the light of that candle.
So many people have been working this year to bring light into the darkest stories of 2016. I am incredibly humbled to think that Handcrafted HoneyBee is helping young women to find their light and to let it shine.
As the year closes and another one begins, I am so excited for what the future holds. Of course, there are just as many bad news stories in store for us in 2017 as those we faced this year. But there is just as much potential for hope.
There is much work ahead of us. There will be challenges. There will be setbacks. We will face dark things in our future.
But together, our candles shine even brighter than they could alone. And that light cannot be extinguished.