Good Morning, all. It’s Christmas time again, and this year things are more entropic than they have ever been - particularly for those of us under 40. Our world seems to be surrounded by chaos and the future is uncertain as it ever was. This year, I wanted to take a pause from the typical weekly articles to say a few words regarding not only where we’ve been, but also where we are going.
This week marks the close of our third year in the COVID-19 Pandemic. On December 31, 2019, the World Health Organization Office in China was notified of an unusual string of infections that did not respond well to traditional medicine. Appropriate departments scrambled for a solution and citizens began to worry. Unfortunately, notwithstanding our best efforts, it wasn’t enough to stop the spread. COVID, to date, has been responsible for 6.6 million deaths worldwide and has devastated our species. Hardly anyone is left who didn’t lose a friend, family member, or colleague.
In addition to COVID, we have also faced the edge of the abyss, toying with the possibility of a nuclear war with Russia, run by an authoritarian dictator who has no qualms with the destruction of entire cultures to serve his purposes. 698 million people are living in extreme poverty, which is to say that they live on less than USD $1.90 per day. Over a million of us died this year either from drug overdose or suicide. 7.7 million people just like you don’t have access to safe drinking water. The list goes on, but suffice it to say that humanity is not in the shape we would like to see realized. The harder one looks, the dimmer our world becomes. Granted, this is all quite grim for a Christmas letter, but please read on because this isn’t the end - and you should always finish what you start.
In the past three years, major technological advances have been made and spoken little of due to the overwhelming antagonistic state of global affairs. Breakthroughs in nuclear fusion, artificial intelligence, medical science, and space travel have all flown under the radar. These achievements lay the groundwork for the future of our species and we owe them to the steadfast work of our scientists, engineers, and their support teams. Those who maintain the grind to elevate our society - even in the face of adversity - are truly heroes, and right now heroes are what the world needs.
Throughout COVID, there were and still are heroes. From healthcare workers, breaking themselves to ensure continuous care for the infected, to essential workers who braved the plague to safeguard day to day infrastructural operations of a world in need - these heroes bought enough time to confront and control the baleful disease.
Russia’s heroes were outspoken citizens and soldiers who risked their lives and careers to publicly denounce Putin’s devastation of Ukraine. Organizations manned by thousands of dedicated individuals offer resources for those in need. Millions of churches and community outreach programs run food banks and shelters for the homeless. Those who serve their communities in uniform work relentlessly to maintain order and ensure the safety of the general public during these unsteady times.
While many of us live and celebrate in comfort this year, we must be mindful that our fight has not yet found its end. When we share sentiments of goodwill and peace on earth, we do so with the knowledge that in many places, such things are not inherent. We also understand that well wishes do not buy food or water. Well wishes do not clothe the disadvantaged or keep drugs off of our streets. Good intentions do not pick up the phone when you dial 988. Those who would take up arms to combat the ever closing darkness are to be lauded.
To those who have served the public interest through these difficult times: Thank you for your service. You are appreciated, and your sacrifices have greatly benefitted the world at large. You have not gone unnoticed and your efforts have successfully kept the darkness at bay for one more year.
You may be wondering why any of this is relevant to a bunch of writers, authors, and storytellers. Allow me to explain. Your stories inspire us to serve. Stories are pivotal in the task of recruiting heroes and your stories are your contribution to the good fight. Of course, every story needs a good hero and the character of our greatest heroes is laid out for study in their legends. Their values are passed from generation to generation through stories. The critical elements that define what makes a Leonidas, a Joan of Arc, or an Audie Murphy, are recounted, as told by writers like you. On the flip side, without storytellers there would be no heroes.
Without you, warrior types would be easily discouraged and may not see the value in service. Have you ever noticed that every child wants to be an astronaut, policeman, or firefighter? In fact, if you ask any child what they want to be when they grow up, I can guarantee you they’ll give you an answer that makes them the hero. Why? Because they know that heroes never die. Because without heroes, our world would crumble and children want nothing more than to be wanted.
A writer's role is just as important as that of those who actively repel the anarchy which would otherwise consume the world. When you sit down to craft your fictions, you become the driving force for a new generation that is young and ready to inherit the earth. Anything you write is what you leave behind, and what you leave behind will be the foundation upon which new generations build their magnificent way of life.
Despite our profound sense of loss through these difficult years, we persist and we prevail. It is only human nature that we should endure and stand firm in ourselves. Our challenges will be met head on with fierce passion, encouraged by our stories. Heroes will continue to serve and writers will continue to create them. If you should ever feel discouraged; know that what you do is meaningful and important. This world would not be what it is today without the storytellers of yesteryear sharing their hopes, dreams, and fears through their tedious work. You are appreciated and you are needed. As 2023 approaches, we must steel ourselves for a long and difficult year. The upheaval enveloping our corner of paradise shows no signs of slowing.
Heroes - enjoy your holiday celebrations and then prepare yourselves for battle against that which is wicked.
Adversor et Admorsus.
Thank you for spending your time with us this morning. We hope that you and your family have a fantastic Christmas this year and we look forward to delivering stories that uplift and encourage you through the challenges of life. You, our readers, are the greatest gift that HIP could hope to receive this year and we are ever thankful for your patronage and readership. Join us here next week for a guest post by esteemed writer Faye Rapoport DesPres for a special guest blog detailing what success really looks like.
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