2021, Where Do We Even Start ?!?
A few weeks into January, and it’s been a year already. The quieter and more peaceful holiday season was glorious, but let’s not forget why they were quiet and peaceful. Oh yeah, that’s right because we are almost a year into a worldwide pandemic. And, let’s not forget the political instability that existed in 2020, and shows no signs of abating in 2021.
A month ago, as I was composing my Christmas cards, I had difficulty deciding what to write. I usually enjoy reflecting on the year and sending an uplifting message to my loved ones. This year, the mere fact I was sending out Christmas cards in the first place felt like a privilege that shouldn’t be taken for granted. I am grateful for the personal comforts we are blessed with. My gratitude is also sometimes tinged with guilt that so many are suffering. Sending cheerful and optimistic words felt like a slap in the face to those suffering in so many various ways.
These days, we can’t even seem to agree if the thousands of those dying every day from COVID are fact or fictional conspiracy theories, or if the masks we are wearing on our faces are considerate, necessary, or an infringement on one’s liberties. In our defense, it does seem as though we are experiencing a cosmic shift, and perhaps it has been an overwhelming adjustment process. I mean come on, who ever thought a hug could be dangerous? Perhaps we should have listened more in history class, or to our elders descriptions of what generations before us experienced. In this new world order, we need technology to interact, ingest pharmaceuticals to prevent disease, and vaccines in order to fix a society that seems broken. There also seems to be a rejection to nuance. You’re either for or against anything, and everything. The call to take a stand has never been louder, yet the world is covered in shades of gray. The instability is palpable, but with the upcoming of Inauguration Day, there does at the same time feel like there is a small window of real hope for change and healing.
The Georgia runoff elections last week demonstrated some evidence of progress. Unfortunately, later that very same day most of us were horrified as we watched violent images at a literal and symbolic structure of our American Democracy. Perhaps that day was a premonition of the dichotomy of how 2021 may unfold, victories and tragedies happening in tandem, before we even have a moment to celebrate or cry. A quote from Robert Fulghum, American author and minister states, ‘Peace is not the absence of conflict, but the ability to cope with it.’ It seems too tall of an order to pray for removal of all conflict, instead I pray for us all to become experts in our ability to cope. The struggles and conflicts of 2020 were new to a lot of us. But I hope in 2021, we learn to better navigate conflict, and that we look inside ourselves and take greater responsibility. This taking of responsibility obviously starts in our personal lives. However, we must not linger too long on the personal, because the even greater task is taking responsibility as neighbors, community members and citizens. We must also somehow find a way to come together and rise up. It’s our turn. Let’s make our children proud of how we handled these transformational times.