Wishing for Hope and Kindness in 2014 – despite the upcoming election season!

I have heard so many people say “good riddance” to 2013! It was a hard year, for lots of us, in so many ways.

For me, however, it also contained many blessings! My 2013 was filled with weddings! One was my daughter’s, which was an unimaginable joy to be part of, and the others were all weddings in which I humbly served as the officiant. This seems rather ironic for a woman who started a blog several years ago to deal with the challenges of being unexpectedly divorced, and rather bitter at the time, in middle age!

Okay, I admit it, I may have started doing weddings again because I wanted to piss off the religious right by marrying as many gay couples as I could possibly marry! But inevitably word got around that I was at it again and my straight friends starting asking also and before I knew it, I was back in the wedding business!

People often seem surprised that I still believe in marriage, considering my own abysmal experience with it! Yet it’s true, despite my sarcasm, despite my jokes, I absolutely still believe in two people committing themselves to a relationship, to a family, two each other, until death do them part. Or until one of them turns out to be a huge jerk. Whichever comes first!

Just to clarify, I mean jerks in general. Not any one specific jerk. (My Xs tend to get all prickly if they think I’m writing about them. Oh crap, now I am. So to clarify my clarification, my Xs are all lovely people who make wonderful husbands – for other people!). Yes. I have more than one X husband, like I said – abysmal!

Okay, back to the topic at hand before I earn myself a letter from someone’s lawyer.

What I really believe in is hope. I believe there is hope for every single one of us. I believe in resilience. I believe in our ability to change and grow. I believe in our ability to pull ourselves up by our boot straps, to pick ourselves up, to dust ourselves off, from whatever challenges we’ve faced, and to continue on. I believe in our ability to become better versions of ourselves!

I believe in love! What I have learned over my many years of struggle is that you have to love YOU first. Then, once you have that down, and only then, are you ready to share you and your life with another human being!

I believe in my children, who like many of you, have faced challenges we never expected, but who continue to prove themselves to be strong, amazing, kind, moral, over-all truly decent human beings!

I believe in this City! I believe in Bangor! Talk about resilient! Talk about picking yourself up by the boot straps and carrying on! This City is amazing!

And I believe in YOU people, every single one of you who has shared your own stories with me this year, who took the time to write, to encourage me!

Even you foolish online commenters, yes you, I believe in you too! I believe in your ability to learn and grown and be better, maybe even kinder, in 2014!

My last wedding of 2013, the one I did on New Year’s Eve, was for a couple who had originally been married in 1984. They briefly tried divorce a decade or so ago. I, in fact, had notarized their divorce papers. Yet, despite all the challenges that life threw at them, these two silly kids were clearly meant to be together! I was thrilled beyond belief to be able to make legal what is obviously one of the best partnerships going! What is more hopeful than that?

So this is my first personal theme for the coming year – hope!

We often tend to get mired down in the day-to-day crap of our lives. We often lose sight of hope. It’s perfectly understandable. I mean how much disappointment can we take? How much heartbreak is enough? How many challenges; emotional, physical, financial or professional, can we handle at once? Some days it is just all too much isn’ t it and we tend to become pessimistic, bitter, angry. We wake up mornings just dreading the day ahead, dreading our lives.

Remember folks, the chances are just as good that today will be a good day. The chances are just as good that something might go right instead of wrong. Our chances for happiness are just as good as our chances for sorrow. The chances are better even, if we change our attitudes and learn to see the blessings in our lives.

Oh, I know there are challenges we can’t fix, heartbreak that happens, illness that happens. I have experienced it all! No we can’t control the inevitable sad parts of our lives. The pain is just as much a part of the human experience as the joy! However, we can control the overall theme. We can control our part in the world, our role in this crazy “dramedy” that is our lives.

My friend and fellow blogger Amy Fried and I had a conversation about the upcoming election year over breakfast last week. We both agreed that, especially in the governor’s race, this is likely to be a nasty year in Maine politics! I’ve been very discouraged lately by  bloggers, and commenters, who are particularly mean and nasty and it is often hard not to get caught up in that mind-set when we are passionate about our beliefs!

So this is my second personal theme for this year – kindness!

That doesn’t mean we have to agree on everything. We know that will never happen. It does mean we should try to disagree intelligently and politely. Let’s be a little more hopeful this year. Let’s believe the best of each other. Let’s try to be more gentle and more kind with the folks we interact with in both our professional and our personal lives!

And let’s try to be more gentle and kind with ourselves as well. Cut yourself some slack. Remember to love you first. No, maybe I won’t be officiating at your wedding this year, but I promise, good things will come of it! We attract what we put out there. When we live lives filled with love and kindness towards others, then love and kindness get reflected back to us.

Let’s give it a shot! We have nothing to lose, and everything to gain!

Any questions. Go visit my friends Kirk and Laura at Bangor Window Shade and Drapery. If there is one thing they know better than awesome, high quality window treatments, its hope!


“And in the end, the love you take, is equal to the love . . . you make”                  Lennon and McCartney






Karen Foley

About Karen Foley

Karen Foley, has successfully been writing her blog for the BDN since May 2011. By successful, she means a few people read it, and she has not been sued, stalked or fired since starting it.