I think I speak for us all when I say we are quite happy to turn the calendar page this year. That does not mean we didn’t learn many things in 2020 because we did, or that we didn’t grow to appreciate a slower, less hectic pace of life, because we did that also. We have even talked, as a staff, about some of the individual positive outcomes of 2020. And as a company we, and our clients, enjoyed DRTV success in 2020.

But 2020 will also be remembered as a challenging, anxiety-inducing, at times confusing and even scary, year. COVID-19 has touched us all – some among us, very close to home.

And so, it is against the backdrop of 2020 that I choose two Eaglecom words for 2021: Hope and Faith.

It is safe to assume that we, as well as sociologists and psychologists, will be dissecting 2020 for a very long time. Books and articles will be written, movies and Netflix specials will be produced, politicians will campaign on how they would have handled it better than their opponents. It will be with us, at least in memory, for a very long time.

And so, it is against the backdrop of 2020 that I choose two Eaglecom words for 2021: Hope and Faith.

George Frederic Watts was a British painter and sculptor. He lived in the 1800’s and died at 87 in 1904. He was considered part of the Symbolist Movement of art. And is quoted as say “I paint ideas, not things”.

One of his most well-known paintings hangs in the Tate Gallery in London. Which he painted in 1886 at the age of 69.

The painting is not very colourful and quite simple in many respects. It features a young girl, wearing a simple dress and she has bare feet. She sits, with her head hanging low, on an image of the globe. In her hand is a lyre harp which she is attempting to play. But the harp has only one string left. And… the girl is blindfolded.

After he had finished the painting, George Frederic Watts showed it to several of his friends. He said – what do you think of it? What does it say to you?

Everyone said to him – it is so sad, so discouraging, so depressing. It symbolizes hopelessness for all humanity.

He said – the girl is looking out over the world, although she cannot see. And the instrument she holds is damaged. But, he said – that one remaining string is the string of Hope. And if you look carefully at the top of the painting there is a small star which he said was the star of Hope. When everything looks like it cannot get any worse, there is always Hope. He named the painting Hope.

In many respects, 2020 is that year. Sad, discouraging, depressing even – so I encourage us to go forward into 2021 with Hope. Hope for a cure; hope for our families and relationships; hope for our communities, our cities, our country; hope for businesses, frontline workers, hope for care homes. And hope for our life-saving clients and our company. As well as each other.

A close cousin to the word Hope, is the word Faith.

Every single day of the year, we bring hope to people’s TV screens and their lives. Yes, we show them how many living creatures have suffered, and we highlight some of the most heart-breaking problems, the sadness, the fear. But we also show them Hope. Hope for a better world – Hope that they can participate in as donors.

A close cousin to the word Hope, is the word Faith.

For while we need hope to be our inspiration, we need faith to believe our hope will come to pass. Faith gives us confidence; it gives us conviction, and it gives us commitment to move forward. To believe that we can and will make a difference.

Helen Keller, who knew darkness, literally and figuratively, said:

“Faith is the strength by which a shattered world shall emerge into the light.”

As the days get longer, as the vaccines are given, as businesses re-open, and as we come back together as a staff team – I know our shattered world will emerge into the light.

T.S. Elliot said: “To make an end is to make a beginning.”

So, let us go forward into 2021 believing in a new beginning, with renewed passion, renewed commitment and renewed Hope and Faith. Hope that the world will be better and Faith that it will come to be.