Today is the first day of the year 2022. I have been ‘on the road’ for the last month or so and have found it difficult to settle in for some ‘blogging.’ Today, however, I feel a duty to conquer excuses and to write something. The duty is to myself because I promised myself to keep my blog alive even when circumstances were not conducive to pondering and to writing. This duty is not to be confused with a new year resolution. This duty is more in line with discipline. I said I would be faithful to my blog and so I need to discipline myself.
The photo above shows the duty of the sun. However natural is this duty, the sun is supposed to shine every day. The sun in this morning’s sky over Montana is fulfilling its duty, yet rather than glaring with heat, the sunshine filters its heat and light through crystalline clouds making for a rather beautiful invitation to enjoy the new year. The natural duty of the sun and of all of nature is to follow a daily routine, a fixed responsible for the whole earth, one side at a time. This natural flow springs from the common understanding that a creative God set all things in motion for a purpose.
This means that even though the sunshine may not be visible, daylight is clearly here from sunrise to sunset. Even if it may not shine brightly, the sun is doing its ‘thing,’ shining high above the clouds. I think it was Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. who commented on this regular and sometimes unnoticed duty: “All I know of tomorrow is that the sun will rise with providence.”
This year we will all have duties to fulfill. Duties to God, self, family, work, country, community. For many, some of these duties will be easy to fulfill because they are natural, such as to sleep and to consume food and water. For others, even this natural duty will be too difficult to fulfill because food and water will not be available. This, some say, is the cruelty of nature at work. Others will claim that the lack of natural resource requires the duty of everyone who has to share. Yes, even duty conjures up a moral code.
May this year bring with its 365 days a sense of duty to fulfill a moral code that rests upon all humanity. May we all be somewhat like a New Year’s Day sun, as shown above. We may not be able to give enough light and enough warmth to everyone, but we will be able to give it intensely to someone. In that one duty fulfilled, a beauty will be revealed. This beauty is not of or for oneself because duty does not seek its own reward. This beauty will be of all of and for humanity, including that which is divine.
Happy New Year.