The end of the is a time for closure. A time not only for wrapping presents, but for wrapping up all of the incomplete projects and unsolved problems of the previous 11 or 12 months. The approach of New Year's is a time to celebrate our accomplishments, and make peace with the disappointments of the past.
Except when it isn't. Which is most of the time.
Seasonal closure is mostly a myth. No ghosts of Christmas past, no guardian angels, and most likely no magical resolutions will make our lives perfect any time soon. Doug Jones' surprising victory aside, as much as we want all of the lousy political or social developments of the past year to magically come to an end in the next couple of weeks, they won't.
It's understandable to wish, as of January first, to move on with a start fresher than a giant breath mint floating down an icy stream gushing through the produce section of a high end grocery store. But the end of a semester, or season, or year, is really just the day before the beginning of the next one. Life is a process. Today leads to the next. Big changes often get made slowly, over a long period of time, and you can't always identify one dramatic moment where they happened. Lessons are learned, and insights gained, the same way. And maybe this is, ultimately, good news.
Humanists believe that, since we can't expect magic, there is a quiet dignity and a genuine satisfaction to be taken from working, every single day, to make life a little better for us all.
This is good news indeed, for those of us at the Humanist Hub. When we began our 40th anniversary celebration in September, Greg Epstein delivered a talk about how humanism itself, and our community in particular, are going through a time of transition. The number of nonreligious Americans has been growing almost exponentially, and more than ever these mainly young people want to be part of positive communities; but sustainable support for organizations like ours us still a long way away. And so for us as the only chaplaincy in the country for "atheists, agnostics and allies" to have its own professional staff and center, it is a time of uncertainty. In September we announced we had big decisions to make soon about whether we could afford to spend $500,000 to renew our lease at 30 JFK Street for another 5 years, and now, as the end of the year approaches, we are ready to announce...that we still don't know. We are still uncertain.
On a positive note, we have a wonderful vision for the future and many good options to consider should we choose not to renew this lease, which expires August 31, 2018. But make no mistake, the very possible decision not to renew would be a significant disruption for us. It would be a challenge to hold on to all the momentum we've gained of late, not only through visits from celebrity supporters like the late Carrie Fisher or Comedy Central's Jordan Klepper, but because hundreds of secular people like you have decided to contribute actively to the life and finances of a diverse, inclusive and inspiring local non-profit that also serves as a national model. We can't say yet exactly what will happen in the next chapter of this special organization...we can only be sure we will continue to work hard to serve and represent you well, every day.
So how do we cope with a life - communally and individually - that is always in process, always in transition?
Join us this Sunday as our Executive Director Greg Epstein, Humanist Chaplain at Harvard and bestselling author of Good Without God, leads a conversation about how to make real and challenging changes...about how to understand ourselves better because we are part of something bigger...about how to end a year. Special guests include Antje Duvekot, our award winning music director who will be performing for the first time anywhere since undergoing throat surgery several weeks ago! Our wonderful Hub Therapist in Residence, Dr. Erik Gregory, will also provide special guest facilitation. Hope to see you soon!