Free Press old folks party showed how much we have to be thankful for

The Free Press Christmas party for old folks
The Free Press Christmas party for old folks

HAYES IN THE HOUSE: By MP John Hayes

In my 2014 New Year message in this newspaper I cited The Great Gatsby, and, in particular, its uplifting message that each of us can make the future we want, and how what has already been matters as much as what is to come.

F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic ends thus; “tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther… And one fine morning — So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.”

All that reminds me of what each of us see in our offspring – happy remembrance of their development, with each early triumph and every childish achievement becoming treasured memories, whilst, simultaneously, we enjoy the changes that mark their progress and savour their potential.

Children provide a rich stock of past events to recall and yet oblige us to look forward - imagining what they could do and might become.

Similarly, the beginning of each New Year affords the opportunity to look back over the events of the last 12 months, and to look forward to what 2015 promises.

To look ahead is bound to involve a degree of apprehension about the future.

As T.S. Eliot, the great poet of the 20th Century, opined in his Four Quartets, “For last years’ words belong to last years’ language. And next years’ words await another voice.”

Yet, whilst the future is always uncertain, here in South Holland we have much to be thankful for and much that gives hope for the future.

Vividly illustrated by the superb voluntary effort which provided a Christmas celebration featured on the front page of the last edition of the Lincolnshire Free Press.

We are fortunate to live in such healthy communities, nurtured by local institutions which bind people together and bring richness to our lives.

Perhaps the most fitting New Year’s resolution is to value the world as it is, rather than lament the loss of what it was.

We are fortunate too to live in our great nation: a Britain that is free – kept so by an open and democratic political system; prosperous – with falling unemployment and the best economic growth rate in Europe; generous – with enough heart to aid those across the world in desperate need; secure – made safe by our marvellous police force and superb armed services; and, above all, hopeful.

Elliot concluded his poem with the words “to make an end is to make a beginning.”

By its very nature the New Year is about change, understanding that “time present and time past are perhaps both contained in time future”.

That is best reflected in the resolutions we make, but it also allows us the chance to appreciate and reconcile all we have with the sense of renewal that comes with the start of each year.

As another poet, Lincolnshire’s Alfred Lord Tennyson, wrote “hope smiles from the threshold of the year to come, Whispering ‘it will be happier.’”