Of all the New Years during the past nearly three-quarters of a century I’ve lived, I don’t remember a year I’ve greeted with so much hope in my heart. We’ve said goodbye to a very difficult year and our hearts are filled with hope that 2021 will be much better. Our Scotties don’t see any difference. They had all the food they love, their daily walks, and warm beds. Life has been the same for them. Maybe it is because they accept life as it comes without the fear we humans often carry.

A few years ago I lived through a year with a stage four cancer diagnosis. Two years later the cancer returned. Those were tough years that I was happy to see end; but nothing has been like 2020. The difficult thing for me has been watching so much fear and pain in others. It’s one thing to deal with personal problems; it’s very different to see friends and family afraid and in pain.

Our local news media have done a good job telling us about the generosity of our neighbors. That is the beautiful side of COVID-19. But they also show us way too much suffering.

Now is a perfect time to renew or deepen our relationship with our Creator. Each of us can relinquish fear and turn to love this year. This is the year to return to all the basic truths we know that transcend formal religion but represent faith in something greater than ourselves.

Let’s begin by remembering that every neighbor, regardless of race, creed, color, politics or sexual orientation is our brother. When we love them as brothers, that love grows and comes back to us. Love is an energy that develops as it is given away. Love cures fear, and helps remove the objects of fear.  COVID-19, the disease, isn’t the cause of most of the suffering we see. But the fear of COVID-19 has caused undue pain, making many people stop supporting our local businesses, which then causes neighbors to lose their livelihoods. It is one thing to be careful, quite another to become obsessively frightened and paralyzed.

Let’s do more. Remember to say hello to those we pass on the street. Since so many people are wearing masks, I’ve noticed that they won’t even look at a person they pass. This only adds to the feeling of isolation that causes suffering.

Now is the time to be thankful for the amazing gift we have living in one of the most beautiful places on earth. I remember 25 years ago, after we had lived in Central Oregon for a few years, my husband and I packed our four Scotties into our car and traveled through Idaho, Montana, Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona and Nevada. We looked for any other place that was as nice as this. There were some pretty areas, but nothing offered the outdoor beauty, access to good medical care and reasonable shopping and entertainment that we have here. That trip gave us a new appreciation for our home.

When your love for an area grows, your roots get deeper and you give more of yourself to those around you. This is an excellent year to deepen your roots. As the roots grow, you look beneath the superficial and see the greater beauty around you. As your appreciation grows, love grows in your heart, which you can share with others.

Two thousand years ago our Creator sent His son, Jesus, to teach us to rise above fear. He showed us that we each have two powerful forces inside of our mind. The higher mind is divine spirit, the limitless power of our Creator’s love. Love gives us strength, forgiveness, joy and peace. The lower mind is controlled by the ego, which promotes fear. Fear stimulates anger, jealousies, guilt, attack and depression. As we go through the day, one of these two forces guides us. Last year many of us let fear drive most of our actions. Let’s make a commitment to let love guide us this year. We can get stronger, happier and healthier, which will help protect us from COVID-19 and improve the world around us.

Love and fear are always there inside of us. We choose which one rules our lives. You may have chosen fear in 2020 but you can choose to change. Fear is a habit and habits are powerful. They live in our subconscious. We spend a lot of time just reacting to life, which means our subconscious minds dictate most of our actions. Be conscious of love. Don’t let fear limit your life and happiness.

The good news is that we can change our lives and improve the lives of those around us. If we work on it every day and check the foundation of each decision, making sure love is inspiring our actions, our lives improve as we lift the shroud of fear. As we change we grow into new, stronger people.

Make this little quote given to me by a friend your guiding light for 2021:

Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over, it became a butterfly.

— Chuang Tzu


Become a butterfly this year. Choose love, and fill 2021 with peace and joy.

This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast and one which enters within the veil.

— Hebrews 6:19, NASB