Essays

2016: A good moment

At the party I went to for New Year’s Eve, I led with one question: what was one good moment that you had from 2016 that you wanted to take into the next year?

It was a great conversational gambit, meaty and meaningful, but most of all, it was healing. We all have great feelings about 2016, and for many people that are in my close circles, it was a terrible one. Whether it is political stress, global stress, economic stress, celebrity death stress… Nothing seemed safe. Nothing felt safe.

And so, as misery often loves company, too many events I attended in the last three months have all had the tone of doom, gloom, and pain.

After I asked that question of a few people, we ended up sitting around the table, a good 15 of us, ready to break bread. Then, the question was tossed out as an opener: say your name and one good moment from the last year.

Have you ever been in the presence of something electric? Have you ever seen something that was trippingly fantastic and not had the right words for it?

As each person took their turn, stating their name and then their good moment – a bar exam passed, a business started, a trip taken, a job change – the energy in the room clicked up volt by volt. This is how people, many of whom did not know each other from before they stepped into that loft, come together. This is how people are able to form communion.

This was what healing looked like, live and visceral and meaningful.

On the morning of New Year’s Day, I had a Skype call with my boys, one in London and one much closer to where I live now. We teased each other, gently and sharply, as close friends, as brothers do, and then we shared our individual recaps of our New Year’s parties, then our travel plans for the year, then our resolutions…

And then I told them specifically about that experience from last night and posed to them the same question: “Guys, come’on, what was your one good moment from 2016?”

Our energy, already warm and visceral, always visible to others when they are in our presence, clicked up, volt by volt. It was palpable, it was something we could all feel, as if we had tapped into a live power line and were lighting up the sky. This is how in times of fear and sadness and change, you draw closer, you come together. This is how you have communion.

Over the next few days, families will part and friends will come back together from various destinations and places. The contrails of jetplanes will shoot back and forth across the continents and the coasts. The daily rhythms of life will resume and very quickly 2017 will be written as a passing thing as we settle back into our routines and our habits.

But, for just a moment, if you can find the time before it all becomes “normal” again, call a friend, meet for a coffee, bring a few people together, and look each in the eye and ask them to talk about one moment, just one, that they would like to take with them into this year.

Then listen and pay attention! This is how you come together. This is a sacred thing, this communion, for this is how we heal and this is how we live.

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