The misperception about New Year’s is that it’s supposed to be a happy occasion. Sort of like Christmas. Or a birthday party.
But it’s not Christmas. New Year’s represents the end of something. And goodbyes are not joyous.
New Year’s is also a beginning. Beginnings are not entirely happy affairs, either. Beginnings are frightening. You have no idea what you’re in for. Could be good. Could be bad.
This year your wife could win the lottery. And when you get home, she might scream, “We won the lottery, honey! Pack your bags!”
“What?” you might reply. “Should I pack for the beach or the mountains?”
“I don’t care!” she might answer. “Just pack your bags and get out of my house!”
Sometimes the worst news you can get is good news.
In many ways, last year was a rough one. Six of my close friends died. I was a pallbearer twice. That wasn’t happy.
But last year was also a year I accumulated new friends.
It all started when I adopted a blind dog. Which I wrote about in this
column. Which led to me getting invited to schools for the blind.
I spoke at the Helen Keller Art Show. There, I met Henrietta, who has blindness due to a mitochondrial disease. She has practically grown up in hospitals. One of the happiest people I know. “I’m not fearless,” Henrietta said. “I’m brave. There’s a difference.”
I learned how to use a white cane in the hallways of the Callahan School for the Deaf and Blind. Whereupon a little blind girl traced my face with her little hands and sang “You Are So Beautiful.”
I visited Alabama Institute for the Blind and Deaf, where a little boy felt my face, and said, “Will you hug me so I know what you feel like?”
I met a cheerful 17-year-old girl named Morgan. We were at the Service Dogs Alabama training facility.…