On a private airfield not far from New York, an American millionaire has his own private Boeing fuelled and ready for takeoff on a long journey. The plane is loaded with provisions and other necessities which will keep the millionaire and his family in reasonable comfort for several months.
The idea is that should a crisis such as a war break out, or notice is given that the Omicron variant of the Covid-19 pandemic shows a devastating surge in his area, or a nuclear device is homing in on America, he and his kin will hive off in the jet to the supposed safety of a small island he owns in mid-Pacific.
Well that is one way of approaching the New Year. Not many of us though, can afford a jet aircraft and fewer still far-away islands.
Whether we like it or not we have to face up to whatever the New Year brings forth. It is curious perhaps, that although we are all escapists to some degree, few would want to turn back the clock or the calendar.
As midnight swept across the world just two weeks ago there was subdued rejoicing, undoubtedly due to the effects of this dreadful pandemic.
In South Africa, with the recent lifting of curfew restrictions and in many other towns and cities in the world, people welcomed the New Year by driving up and down the streets hooting, glasses were raised and toasts to absent friends were drunk.
That is just the way it should be for the hailing in of a new year is a demonstration of faith – faith in the future. Who is there who does not believe that there is a better world, a happier world, a world where the covid threat has been beaten, a more peaceful and prosperous world for our children somewhere down the years to come?
In Colditz Castle, that grim fortress prison in Germany, Allied prisoners of the last World War found a motto carved into the cold stone of a dungeon wall and it gave them much comfort. It read: “Alles wanket wo der glaube fehlet” (All fails when faith fails).
There was no indication of who it was who so laboriously carved the letters, but the Colditz prisoners of war were constantly reminded of one of life’s fundamental truths and it is not unlikely that the words preserved sanity in some cases.
The New Year – and every New Year – is an occasion to renew faith in our personal future and in the destiny of the human race.
So let the American millionaire have his Pacific island funk hole. For ourselves, though, let us salute 2022 joyfully and positively, convinced we are a year nearer complete reconciliation and renewed health in this beautiful country in which we live.
So a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year to you all.