Each year at this time, I like to take a moment to reflect on the hard work of the past twelve months and to celebrate all that has been accomplished.
But today, sitting down to do this feels different; almost as if there is still too much work to be done to end conflict, make progress on climate change, and to feel secure that public dialogue and the civic spaces around the world remain vibrant and open to all. In other words, celebrating anything feels premature.
I am an optimist and someone who is firm in her belief that there is always more than one way forward. But maintaining this sentiment has never been harder.
And yet, it’s what we must do. Times like these are endurance races, where you can see the finish line – in this case, a world of peace and justice and protection for all beings, but it is still too far away to rest on your laurels or slacken your pace.
The Northern Irish poet Seamus Heaney famously once wrote, “Walk on air against your better judgement.” To me, in this line, he’s telling us that no matter how challenging things seem, and how dark the skies have become, we must trust in the evolution of the world, and the fact that things will indeed eventually unfold to a greater purpose.
In the meantime, we can each take heart in the fact that the work we do around the world is at the very center of this purpose and is embedded into the solution of every critical global issue we face collectively. Because without volunteering and its foundation within peaceful, civil societies, there will be no progress on climate change, poverty, or war.
So, as we come to the close of December, let’s indeed do a little walking on air, and put our faith in the power of volunteering to bring about better things in the year to come.
Wishing you all the joys of the season,
IAVE Executive Director
PS: If you can, please consider donating in any amount to ensure IAVE is able to continue its important work. And thank you!