Friday 30th December 2016
Dr. Amanullah De Sondy
Senior Lecturer in Contemporary Islam
University College Cork, Ireland
After the deaths of George Michael and Carrie Fisher, I read a friend’s response, that he wanted to basically wrap up all his favourite stars in cushioning in order to preserve them. If only it could be that easy. The end of anything is often hard to face up to. I think there is a moment of limbo in our lives as we move toward the New Year. But can we plan forward for a new year with certainty? I’m looking forward to a trip planned to Granada in Spain next May. Booking that flight offered certainty and hope that I would end up there.
In a way we plan for a future through hope and inspiration from different things. Religious stories from sacred texts offer us some hope that good overcomes evil. We may even overlook the out-of-this-world miracles that make up these stories. Dreams of hope are often inspired by the magical, the mythical – and their power cannot be underestimated. The tales, the fables, the folklore we recall from the past help to strengthen us when moving forward.
Maybe that’s why we never grow too old for the cartoons or animated movies, they retell old myths but present them in new colourful, hopeful forms. Hope for a better tomorrow or New Year needs imagination. It helps us focus some form of certainty on the uncertain.
But how do we take wisdom from the sometimes real and sometimes mythical stories from the past, to help us with our present and with our future? I’ve read so much about Muslim Spain. Its architecture has always amazed me but also of that fabled past where the people lived peacefully. A positive reading of hope, peace and tolerance often helps us move forward if we’re living in the opposite reality. Maybe the past was just as broken but I’d rather focus on the positives. So here’s to a new year that we really have no idea how it will turn out but in the hope that it will be a happy new year.