Monday, December 18, 2006

Christmas Letter 2006

The curious thing about the future is this: Although it has not yet happened, it affects the present in ways we may not even recognize. We plan for it, and in doing so we make decisions about our families, our work, and what we value most in life. By our choices—even by not choosing, which is itself a choice—we create it for good or ill.

So it is now. We face a future of limits because the world is finite. We face a future of climate change that will also constrain us. Our future will be unlike that of any other generation.

For many of us, this is a frightening prospect. It calls into question all our past values, from economic growth to trips to the local shopping mall. How will we live in the uncertain world that is ahead?

There is no easy or sure answer. The only way for us to move forward is to have faith. Not faith that certain creeds are true. Faith is not a way of proving propositions. It is the act of trusting in ourselves, in others, and in the future, even though we cannot be certain of the outcome.

We can move forward only if we trust that, by doing what we can to create a better future, we will make a difference—even if at this moment we cannot see a clear path ahead. Like Frodo in The Lord of the Rings, we must take the Ring, trusting that we will somehow find the way.

Without this kind of trust, we will see no path at all. With it, we can make a beginning. And we can move toward a more hopeful future.