I am so often accused of gloominess and melancholy. And I think I’m probably the most cheerful man around. I don’t consider myself a pessimist at all. I think of a pessimist as someone who is waiting for it to rain. And I feel completely soaked to the skin. … I think those descriptions of me are quite inappropriate to the gravity of the predicament that faces us all. I’ve always been free from hope. It’s never been one of my great solaces. I feel that more and more we’re invited to make ourselves strong and cheerful. …. I think that it was Ben Jonson who said, I have studied all the theologies and all the philosophies, but cheerfulness keeps breaking through. (The Joking Troubadour of Gloom, The Daily Telegraph, 26 April 1993.)

Strong and cheerful when we’re soaked to the skin – sounds like a good description of how I hope to feel in the coming year…

The quote came up this morning when a group of journalists were remembering some of the famous people who died this past year. They spent quite a while talking about Leonard Cohen, the ups and downs in his life, his music, and the incredible humour in his songs. They didn’t quite refer to it as ‘cheerfulness’ though…

It’s hugely difficult to do this, but I’ve promised myself to try this out next year: to really focus on what needs to be done for Pádraig and persons with injuries like his. Sounds so simple, but it also means, if you turn it around, not to focus on things that don’t work, on people who are making my work difficult, on what often looks and feels like a pretty desperate situation. I am going to do this work cheerfully, with determination, persistently, transparently. I also know that I will have to be physically fit to do it.

I think this is how Pádraig would have done this. We both share a slight tendency to become impatient – something he managed to control really well. An example to follow.