Looking back at the ’00s

The 00’s are almost history.

Looking back, the last 10 years seem exceptional. Typically, I tend to focus more on the positive. However, from my perspective, the 00’s seem to have had more than their share of turbulence and tragedy. The preceding decades that I remember seem calm by comparison.

For many of us, the last 10 years have been ones of high highs and low lows. The country shared clear defining moments.

We started off 2000 by holding our breath. What would happen when the clocks struck midnight and the Great Computer Crash caused computers all over the world to stop functioning? Even with all the hype and fear mongering, from the start, the 2000’s didn’t miss a beat.

While the Y2K computer glitches didn’t change a thing, the events of Sept. 11, 2001, changed everything. Life since then has changed for all of us. With more complications and challenges, the events of that day linger in our lives in ways large and small. Most of us hunkered down in the year that followed and stayed home – watching news of the war in Afghanistan and another crisis brewing in Iraq.

In spring 2003, the U.S. entered into war with Iraq. Back then, most people seemed to expect the war to be short-lived, sort of like the First Gulf War in the early 1990s. I doubt that few of us would have believed that nearly seven years later the war would still be waging.

When Katrina and Rita struck in 2005, life in Louisiana took a wretched turn. Directly or indirectly, the pain, suffering and sadness affected us all.

By now, we again realize that time dulls the pain of wounds.

Politically, the decade has seen its share of The Great Divide. The contrasts and conflicts that have brewed among us revealed themselves in less than healthy ways. Lines have been drawn, and many wonder how a nation so divided could muddle toward a more perfect union.

Through the difficulties, moments of love and happiness have brightened the way.

In late 2002, my husband and I traveled to China to adopt the youngest member of our family. Piper celebrated her eighth birthday last week. The joy and light she brings to the world is, for our family, a formidable yang to the yin of pain and darkness.

Here’s a sampling of the way she makes me smile. As she was getting ready for bed on her birthday, she blithely said to me, “It hurts to be beautiful, you know?”

Caught off guard, I replied, “What do you mean?”

“The hair and the make-up, the picking out of clothes and the toe clipping,” she said and quickly moved on to, “I wish there wasn’t gravity.”

“Why?” I asked.

“Then I could fly,” she said, just before her head hit the pillow.

As we approach the ending of one milestone and the beginning of another, I offer a prayer of gratitude for the miracles of joy along the way.

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