There will be good things ahead

Now that the darkest part of the year has passed, I’m hopeful we’ll see something like what my Uncle Robert described in an email to me last year:

It seems sometimes like things plod along, yielding neither joy nor sorrow; and then suddenly an unexpected series of events, meetings, or conversations; a surge of energy and clarity; or just a darn good night’s sleep, something shifts and the heart fills, the mind opens, and one gets the feeling of something like epiphany. I hope you are experiencing this as often as possible!

There’s much to fear and much that needs to be changed about the world, but the future will also hold wonderful surprises which we’re completely unable to foresee now. I’ve often thought about some of the saddest times in my life and the feelings I might have had then of simply not wanting to experience the future. With hindsight, I can see now that so many of the things which I would now regard as the most rewarding and significant of my life came after those darkest days, and they would have had their potential expunged in the hopelessness of those moments.

The future will bring joy and sorrow, and eventually death, and we should cultivate a feeling of gratitude for being able to experience any of it: each of our brains an impossibly complex and unlikely combination of atoms and higher-order structures — from monomers, precursors, and bare inorganic ions to proteins, DNA, cellular organelles, and organs — as with the sensory organs and neurons through which our experiences occur.