In today’s complicated world ‘belonging‘ is something we long for. The term itself elicits a positive, comforting sensation. We want to feel that our surroundings envelop us with reassurance. And don’t we all look for such personal reinforcement, particularly at the beginning of a new year?
That was the upbeat optimistic approach she had expected when wishing her friend, a happy new year. He, however, had not obliged. He had said something about sensing a turbulence or a time-warp out there. No! Those weren’t quite his words. Just the way she tried to interpret them. Why hadn’t she listened more precisely? So she had asked:
“You mean what’s going on in the US?”
“Not just there!” His response was immediate. His tone was that of darkness and doom. “It’s everywhere!”
Sometimes he had sounded prophetic. This was one of those times – like Jeremiah the prophet of doom – though perhaps not Jeremiah, as he had in fact attempted to convey hope. Had she listened more closely and probed further, would he have explained? Never mind! Last year had worked out alright. What lay ahead was unknown.
In the past, she had recalled fond memories of belonging. The one that had often shrouded her was sitting in the church pew on Sunday mornings, surrounded by a community of familiar faces. This mindfulness, however, escaped her as she thought of the year ahead. His hollow tone had left her uneasy.
While both the western and eastern horoscopes attempted to convey that good energy would be coming her way, she was feeling none of it. Was there in fact something looming out there in the universe that was sucking away the positivism she longed to experience? She was reminded of other prophesies, not from ancient texts, but rather from the likes of Nostradamus of the 16th Century. Although academics tend to reject him having prophetic abilities, there were many historic events that fit his predictions. Was the planet again experiencing the catastrophes about which he foretold concerning 2020: unusual natural disasters – storms, hurricanes, tornadoes and abrupt rise in sea levels; that an important monarch would leave his or her post; that a President was being “forced from his or her post”; and that a third, major global conflict was brewing?
There was also the more recent Bulgarian – blind, clairvoyant Baba Wanga of the 20th Century. She foretold that Vladimir Putin’s life would encounter an assassination attempt from someone working within the Kremlin. She also foresaw president Trump having a brain tumour that could leave him deaf – or dead. And still more, she predicted the fall of Europe at the hands of “Muslim extremists”, unleashing an arsenal of chemical weapons.
Whether any of these forecasts would become realities, or remain generalized possibilities, the mood of devastation her friend had conveyed was becoming evident; it was even more so, with the new year shooting down of the Ukraine aircraft 752. The Iranian-Canadians who died were clearly among some of the brightest minds on the planet. Lost to the future of the world!
How could one ever experience the inexplicably blissful appreciation of contentment and belonging, when what had taken over the planet seemed indeed to be foreboding tribulation, and upheaval of cataclysmic proportions?
Be that as it may, devastating predictions had been foretold from the time of ancient days. Nonetheless, by some overwhelming power far beyond human understanding, life of man on the planet had “not only endured but prevailed”, as William Faulkner had stated. Gifted minds attempt finding means to bring order to political chaos; they are also learning ways to overcome natural adversities by united efforts. So monstrous fires are put out. Villages demolished by floods and earthquakes are rebuilt. And while wars continue to be fought, they remain contained.
As she considered all this, it came to her. This is our time on the planet. We have an unequivocal human need to belong and believe in a hopeful future. With that realization, she became comforted.