On my Twitter feed the other day, I saw a post with a picture of a vending machine. On the front of the vending machine someone had taped a sign that read: “The light inside has broken, but I still work.” The Tweet to accompany it said, “Me too, vending machine, me too.”
At the end of this year, maybe we’re all feeling a bit like that.
We coped with continuing terrorism in the world, our nation divided through a long election, and the deaths of so many whose names we knew and whose names we learned. Many of our lights are probably broken right now or at least in need of a new lightbulb.
This time of year brings us a lot of light, from Christmas trees, Hanukah menorahs, and Kwanzaa kinara and in just a couple of days, we’ll also have the lights from the ball in Times Square as it drops to bring in a new year.
Holidays lights were all over Barcelona when I was there a couple of weeks ago: lights in the busy city center and lining the streets of residential neighborhoods.
But, the greatest light in Barcelona was at La Sagrada Familia, the architect Antoni Gaudí’s unfinished cathedral. Gaudí began work on the building that would become his master work in 1883, but only a quarter of the building was finished when he died in 1926. Other architects, stone masons, sculptors, and builders have worked on the building ever since which is scheduled to finally be completed in 2026, a century after Gaudí’s death.
Scaffoldings rise all around the building, but inside looking at the light that streams in from the rounded windows and the stained glass, you wouldn’t know it was incomplete.
I don’t know what 2016 brought you, maybe a new career or a new home, adventures abroad or adventures in your own backyard, romantic love or deeper love for your family. Or maybe it brought you unemployment and financial hardship, the end of a relationship, the severing of a friendship or a rift between you and your family.
We might be feeling like that vending machine, like the light has gone out, but I’d rather think that we’re like La Sagrada Familia. We all have scaffolding still around us, we’re still works in progress, but there’s also light streaming in somewhere.
This weekend, when you’re ringing in 2017, it’ll be easy enough to think of how hard 2016 was, but I hope we can all think of at least one time the light was streaming in this year.
And I’ll be wishing for all of us in 2017 what Gaudí once said, “Tomorrow we will do beautiful things.”
Here’s to all the tomorrows to come.