At midnight, on January 1st,
I said hello to 2013.
As I watched the glittering ball
descend into Times Square,
thousands of voices cheered
but nothing changed.
I felt the same.
In spite of all the counting,
we have no power over time.
A month later, on February 10th,
I welcomed in another New Year
with a Vietnamese friend of mine.
A completely different approach!
Instead of an expensive glittering ball,
useful items (like salt, fruit, cookies, and tea)
were set out in preparation for the arrival of the New Year.
I am not Vietnamese or Buddhist,
so I don’t know the significance of these chosen items.
But I do understand the intention.
It certainly makes sense to give thanks,
especially in these hard economic times.
After all the prayers were said for business and home,
we drove to the Van Hanh Buddhist Temple in Centreville, Virginia.
We arrived at around 12:30 a.m.
I was surprised to see so many people there,
early in the morning on such a cold night.
They did not come to party; they came to pray.
Sticks of incense were lit and placed in front of statues
that represent the Buddha and other helpful spirits.
*** The photo below was taken with the flash turned ON ***
Now when I look at this picture,
I can see the prayers of the people
filled with faith, hope, and good intentions
rising in the smoke from the incense sticks.
It is an inspirational and comforting sight.
Giving thanks and praying
for the best possible future
makes more sense to me
than focusing on a
that descends to the ground
like a rock.
I would rather see
New Year prayers rising! ~ ms