A Letter to 2021

By Carolyn Rhinebarger | January 13, 2021

Dear 2021,

The anticipation of your arrival has been like holding our collective breath under water. We heralded your coming, not with the usual frenzy of festivities, but with a quiet wonder and hope accompanied by soft whispers in the winter wind. “Things will be better now….”

For we come from a time of disappointment and loss. Plans cancelled. Lives and livelihoods lost. Recoveries slow. All of humanity brought to its knees by a single microbe.

But you! Oh 2021! You offer a fresh start, relief from our suffering, and the chance to hope again. But we must be patient with you. You are just an infant now, only a few days old. You must learn to crawl, then stand, and take your first wobbling steps.

You will fall. And you will fail. But you will get back up and try again and again. There is nothing to discourage you. The world is rooting for you to sweep in and wipe away our tears, heal our broken hearts, and make us whole once more.

I imagine you will remind us of your predecessor now and then. And scold us for not having faith in you. Forgive us when skepticism creeps in and understand that we have been greatly disillusioned by your predecessor. Help us to remember the good to be found in forced solitude, self-reflection, and moments of compassion.

As you grow and mature, we promise not to become complacent. We will not take you for granted, 2021. You will have your own place in the history books as the unforgettable time when we reawakened from this long slumber and followed you into the light of healing and hope. You, 2021, are our salvation.

With gratitude,

The Hopeful World


Carolyn Rhinebarger, New Beginning, acrylic on canvas, 36″x48″

(Note: New Beginnings was painted in mid-December as news of a Coronavirus vaccine approval was announced. It represents the first dawning of hope in what has been a dark time for us.)

Copyright © 2021 Carolyn Rhinebarger


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  1. C. J. Lori on January 13, 2021 at 8:13 pm

    Beautiful words and painting. Thank you.

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