Hi friends - One year ago last week, politics took a surprising turn. And the burden of the last twelve months has taken a toll. Anxiety, depression, and a sense of disorientation have visited us all, it seems.

Whether we like the political agendas of those in power, or dread them, lots of us feel thwarted in our agendas, hemmed in, as if unable to hope for a better future. 

But if we keep thinking that way, three years from now, we'll all be ten years older.

A year ago last week politics took a surprising turn. But there are two other anniversaries we want to mark this week too.

A year ago last week Leonard Cohen, one of the sanest, wisest, transcendent poets, died. Sane because he faced reality even when it frightened him, wise because he admitted it. Transcendent because he invited us to go beyond the narrow circle of self, and to cease always defining our present in terms of what has gone before.

And a year ago last week The Porch came into being.

Since then, beautiful things have happened, and terrible things have happened, and to paraphrase our brilliant friend the Kiwi writer Mike Riddell, the broken world will go on saving the broken world, because it's full of people who have been captivated by the idea that the failing stories we're telling can be transcended by a better one.

Not a story of separation, but union.

Not a story of avoiding suffering, but of accepting suffering as part of what it means to love.

Not us versus them, but some of us for all of us.

A story that drinks deeply from the well of life - the one whose water we all know has very little to do with hydrating  "success" or dominating others, or selfish ambition, or who has the most "things". 

A story that laughs at bad jokes and admires beautiful butterflies and dances in the moonlight and gives glasses of water to thirsty people and bunches of flowers to random strangers, and puts itself on the line for the sake of the vulnerable. A story that helps us stop taking ourselves too seriously, for the sake of the most serious thing: love.

That's the story we're trying to learn on The Porch, and on our first birthday, we invite you to step further into that story too.  There’s a new issue of the magazine available to subscribers, we’re taking a group of bridge-builders on a trip (click here to see how you can join us), our local community circles are growing, and we host storytelling nights a couple times a month (make sure you subscribe to our newsletter to keep up to date with when we're going to be near you). If you want to create your own local circle, or are inspired to follow anything we’re doing at The Porch, just let us know how we can help. We’ll do our best.

Because here's the thing: in three years from now, we could all be ten years older, or we could have decided to pick ourselves up, go to the porch, and tell a story that shapes the common good. We could let the exhaustion of the last year remain the characteristic of the next, or take some simple steps toward the kind of action that is so full of life that it perpetuates its own renewal. We could seek out conversation with everyone we meet and ask one simple question: Tell me about yourself, and how can we help each other?

Thank you for your friendship.

And may the better story guide us.

See you next time.