Saturday, December 31, 2005

2005 to 2006: Hopes and Fears

‘I noticed tonight that the world has been turning whilst I’ve been stuck here dithering around. […] But I can’t stop now, I’ve got troubles of my own. Because I’m short on time, I’m lonely and I’m too tired to talk’ (“Can’t stop now”, Keane)

Unfortunately for you, though, I’m not too tired to write. Keane issued this song in May 2004 but their album has, for me, summarised this year, with its examination of “Hopes and Fears.” As any year passes into a new one it’s a good opportunity to look back and assess as well as to look forward and predict. Whilst the major broadcasters can be left to do the day-by-day analysis, I will add in my own take on events.

This year started out with so many dreams. It was seen as year where Britain could truly mark itself on the world stage with the Presidency of the G8 and the EU. This was meant to be the year when Poverty was made History. This huge aim was almost guaranteed to fail simply due to the scale of change needed for it so succeed. However, history was made, on an international, national and personal level. I started 2005 with the aims of getting a 2:1, starting towards a career in Journalism, being confirmed and finding a partner. Just like the world’s aims on January 1st 2005, things had to change. However, I think of St. Paul’s First Letter to the Corinthians which talks of ‘Faith, hope and charity’ and, together with Keane’s lyrics, this provides a good framework for my reflections on 2005.


‘Everybody’s changing and I don’t feel the same.’ (Everybody’s changing)

Faith seems to play an increasing part of our every day lives; not only faith in a religious sense but also in the sense of our common faith in ‘the establishment’ and ‘justice.’

In July we saw one of the most startling attacks on London in peacetime. The attacks were due to fanaticism and the Islamaphobia which resulted seems abhorrent to the vast majority of people, of all faiths. At the same time as a national growth in faith awareness, I have questioned and grown in faith. All individuals need to go through periods of questioning; just as we have to collectively assess who or what we have faith in, so must everyone of us re-assess our opinions on our own spiritual situation. The London bombings and the acts of natural disaster have given an increased sense of a greater being. Some argue that these events have made us feel Godless but I feel more that it proves to me that there must be a greater plan out there.

In a time and society where faith is deemed unimportant, I have been confirmed, Prince Charles and Camilla have felt it necessary for their marriage to be blessed and all faiths in the UK have united against terrorism. This is something that will continue into 2006 with the Islamic Fundamentalists in Iran increasingly challenged and the fear that Iraqi dissidents will attack Western targets. This is not a safe world but it is a faithful one. That faith exists despite the changes and leads me to have hope in tomorrow’s peace.


‘Is this the place we used to love, is this place I’ve been dreaming of. […]
I’m getting old and need something to rely on […] I’m getting tired and need somewhere to begin.’ (Somewhere only we know)

Britain has been through quite substantial changes and the events of the G8, Live 8, the regeneration to come with the advent of the London Olympics, dreams following a history-making third labour term and the changes within the Conservative party bring us hope for what is to come. For me personally, the change from Warwick to Sheffield has shown me that leaving university is possible and shows future changes will be, if not easy, manageable. My growing love of journalism beings me excitement and joy for what is to come. So whilst, as Keane point out, there are things (i.e. Love) which I look for, the events of 2005, for me, bring me hope for what will come.

Our individual fears over degree results (Bro and I were thrilled with our 2:1s) or common fears over the future of the Catholic Church following the loss of a much-loved Pope, share the themes of both sadness over the loss of an old way of life but optimism over what may come. We look for stability in our lives but Keane reminds us of the conundrum that faces us. We need something stable to rely on but also somewhere to begin, to move on from. The change from University to ‘real life’ is not an easy one but it is one step in a long journey.

Though there have been failures, even in disappointment hope can be found. The EU budget was not quite what we wanted, the G8 did not eradicate poverty, the General Election is yet to bring the change we want. However, the reaction of individual humans in crisis has been the greatest source of hope along with their ability to give and not need in return.


‘Something I wasn’t sure of but I was in the middle of, something I forget now but I’ve seen too little of. The last time you fall on me for anything you like.’ (This is the last time)

This quotation seems to prove that we cannot ask for anything more. The song actually, for me, highlights our errors in that we have not paid enough attention to one another. Yet, in the last twelve months, the reverse has been true.

Charity has been the greatest surprise of 2005. The way individuals have been able to react to the Tsunami, the South-East Asia Earthquake or Hurricane Katrina with generosity has been gobsmacking. As has people’s kindness and support of me. The year has been emotionally tough with change disturbing me. Yet the kindness of family and friends plus their generosity to give up their time to support me, fund me and, above all, love me has been remarkable. I thank them for that. Charity is not about giving money but time and love as well. In the next twelve moths, I hope to be able to repay these acts of kindness and love. Thus, as Paul writes in his First Letter to the Corinthians reminds us, when examining ‘faith, hope and charity […] the greatest of these is charity.’ This has been so true in 2005. I hope it is true for the next year.

So, I pray you go forward into 2006 with many hopes and not too many fears. May your faith in life be strengthened, your hopes be fulfilled and your charity welcomed and reciprocated.

Happy New Year,


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