To the editor:
Yes, Per, there is JOY in 2011!
For years, I have read with interest your Saturday morning column and, more recently, your editorials. You are an excellent writer and usually bring out both sides of an issue. However, on Jan. 1, 2011, I was sadly disappointed in reading your editorial, "Where's the Joy in 2011?"
I guess "sadly disappointed" is an understatement. I was irritated. I read the entire editorial expecting that you would switch from the negative tone about the price of gas, natural disasters and Vikings/Twins woes to bringing forward the many joys in 2011 that are still all around us yet many of us overlook. But, Per, you never switched your tone and seemed driven to pull us all down the swirling drain of negativity.
From the outside looking in, I am willing to bet that when you woke up on Jan. 1, 2011, you crawled out of a warm bed, you found plenty of food to eat in your refrigerator or cupboards, you found more than ample clothes to keep you warm, you have a family who loves you and accepts your love in return and you still have a good job. All of these things are more than enough reasons to find "joy in 2011." I believe that many of us, like you, are blessed with far more than we deserve or need, yet we don't realize or acknowledge it.
I feel that New Year's Day gives us a chance to look back on the good and bad events that have happened in our lives during the past year. I hope that we are able to learn from these experiences and think, "How can I make this year a better one for those around me?" Yes, I agree that there are many problems in the United States and world-wide. But, I also believe that the best way to make a difference is to start from within ourselves.
I don't believe it is healthy to focus our joy on things that we have no control over such as the price of gas, natural disasters or pro sports teams' futures, etc. Even though I am a big fan of Minnesota pro sports, I am embarrassed to even imagine that our joy in 2011 is in any form tied to the fate of the Vikings or Twins! If so, we need to get a grip on what is really important in life.
A front page feature story in the same Jan. 1, 2011, edition of the Marshall Independent was called "Her Second Family." This article celebrated the 50th year of AFS in Marshall. Ruth Larson, co-coordinator of Marshall AFS, was quoted: "The motto of AFS is building peace one relationship at a time." I believe this should be the motto each of us personally adopts for 2011.
If we all try to make a difference in our own sphere of influence, we may be surprised at the ripple effect this will have for the future. If we try this, Per, I believe we will find "joy in 2011" and we will find something elseHOPE!
May you and all of your readers find JOY in 2011.