My first teacher in Germany was a strict man, who made me stay after school for getting a drink of forbidden water after recess one day and handed down punishments for putting your feet in the aisle and writing beyond the margins on the notebook paper.

My straight As went to at least one C until my mother threw down my previous report cards on the principal’s desk and demanded some answers.

Things gradually got better and I wound up being extremely happy in Germany.

That year was the hardest year of my life, until 2020. I’m sure thousands, if not millions, of others feel the same way about this difficult year. My religious beliefs profess that these times are the latter-days, full of end-of-time difficulties and worldwide upheavals.

I never thought such times, though, would mean I wouldn’t be going to church and that I couldn’t see my disabled daughter, Dawn, especially when she is struggling with some health problems.

Yet here I am. Here we are all.

But let’s hope the next year will be better. As Alexander Pope wrote, “Hope springs eternal in the human breast.” Sometimes hope for a better day ahead is the only reason we get out of bed in the morning.

At the very least, one can always hope an end will come to the trials, whether in this life or the next, depending upon your belief in God and his plan.

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