As I write this, our nation has hit a tragic milestone. Over 400,000 people in the United States have died from this pandemic. Many more have been infected and survived, only to face long-term health complications. And for each death, the number of loved ones grieving is exponentially higher. The numbers are too high to really fathom easily. And dwelling on them leaves me feeling hollow with sadness and grief. I know some of you have lost loved ones to this illness. Your grief is more personal, more poignant. My heart goes out to you. All of us are grieving right now–so many different losses. It is hard to know what to say or what to do.
I tuned in to the memorial vigil held by President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Harris on Tuesday night. If you missed it, it is available online through PBS. It was short and extremely moving. The loveliest, most meaningful part for me was the long silence at the end. They knew enough to have a long protracted silence. Something that is not often a part of events, especially political ones. But maybe this wasn’t intended to be political. Maybe it was exactly what it appeared to be–two people grieving with us. Giving us the time and the space to grieve with them. In the silence, I felt held. And that was something I needed more than I realized.
The deadline for this article is Wednesday morning. Hours before the inauguration of our next President and Vice President. Considering the events of this past month–the events of these past four years–I find myself almost unable to sleep. Part of me is filled with eager excitement. Part of me feels like a long march is almost over. Part of me is nervous about what may happen. This was not the peaceful transition of power we have come to expect. I believe the inauguration will proceed without incident. But I don’t know that. And that uncertainty is difficult to accept. This is where faith comes in. I believe things will be ok. Not blindly. But because we are aware of the threat now. I think we, as a country, have finally realized just how bad things have gotten. And we turned back. Most of us. That is the source of my faith and my hope for what comes next.
I believe in us. I believe we have a lot of work to do. I’m ready for the next chapter.
Together, we can do this.