A better 2014? Positively

Residents can chart new year in Augusta with affirmative attitude

A traveler between towns stops and asks a farmer what the people are like in the next town.


“What were they like in the town you came from?” the farmer asks.

Rotten, the traveler says. Selfish, lazy, untrustworthy. Couldn’t wait to leave them behind.

“That’s what you’ll find in the next town too,” the farmer says.

Soon, another traveler comes along with the same question, and the farmer asks what the people were like in the town he came from.

“Incredible,” the second traveler says. “Good and kind and generous. I will miss them.”

“That’s what you’ll find in the next town too,” the farmer says.

Indeed, we take our view of people, of life, of the world, with us wherever we go.

And whenever, too. If you couldn’t wait for 2013 to be over, you’ll likely feel the same about 2014.

Likewise, if you look at life over the past 12 months as a gift – an often difficult, but ultimately beautiful gift – then you’re likely to see the next 12 months the same way, whatever difficulties lie ahead.

And, as the travelers from the above folk tale demonstrate, the nature of your hometown is largely determined by your attitude toward it. It can be a self-fulfilling prophecy – both individually and collectively.

If we approach 2014 and Augusta with a positive perspective – a completely realistic, eyes-open one – we can make it happen.

The headlines won’t always reflect that, since news is most often what’s out of the ordinary. But just consider what that means: It means that good things are “ordinary.” People get to work and school safe. They enjoy family and community life. The weather is welcoming. Truly talented people, in all manner of professions, display their vast skills in “ordinary” ways every day – in ways we often overlook.

Bad news, in short, is the exception. Every single year.

And so are bad people the exception. Every single place.

This isn’t the stuff of rose-colored glasses; it’s the observation of wide-open eyes. And good towns don’t just happen. They’re the result of rolled-up sleeves and people of good will and deep faith. We ultimately make the kinds of friends, families and communities we want.

Moreover, we fashion the years in large part in the shape of our attitude toward them.

While we are obviously all subject to the sudden and ambivalent winds of fate, we are nonetheless empowered in our responses. We have response-ability.

Look at Aimee Copeland – the young Snellville woman who lost her hands, left leg and right foot to a dangerous bacterial infection following a fall from a zipline in 2012. Today, she’s gathering multiple college degrees – and hearts whenever she tells her story and exhibits the divine grace and joy in her heart. May we all approach life and its deep challenges with such fortitude and spirit.

It’s noteworthy, too, that if Aimee Copeland were the traveler from the folktale, she’d have nothing but good things to say about Augusta and her time at the Joseph M. Still Burn Center at Doctors Hospital. She credits the caregivers there with helping forge her intrepid new life.

Such are the things we can do for each other.

In our years and in our communities, we most often see what we expect to see.

We hope you see a terrific 2014, and an Augusta to suit it.


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