From mourning to morning
I am waking up, waiting for the sunrise, wanting a new day to begin.
After months of restless sleep and daily worry, I carry the comforting and hopeful words of the psalmist with me:
Weeping may linger for the night, but joy comes with the morning
Is joyfulness permissible as thousands of Americans are infected with the Coronavirus daily and one of our citizens dies every minute? As individuals and families struggle to keep safe while maintaining their work and school commitments? As businesses and their owners and employees face economic hardship? As a large proportion of our sister and brother Americans are seduced by lies and conspiracies that threaten our very democracy?
Yes, joyfulness is not only permissible but indispensable, here and now, in this moment, for you and me and we the people. Despite widespread suffering and deep anxiety, the soul calls us ceaselessly to joy, a joy that is a part of our collective psyche and soul.
For sure, anger, fear, and grief are present still; and for many, disgust for all that is unhealthy in our body politic. Yet, in this season when a child of God is born to us, when darkness gives way to light, when gestating life prepares to spring forth again, let us receive the healing balm of joy.
Two key qualities of joy, compassion and humility, have been supporting me these past four tumultuous years, and I have certainly experienced moments of joy — but it’s been so damn hard. My humility and compassion have been sorely tested, and I believe it’s been a joyless time for all Americans, whatever their political persuasion. Differences have turned to demonization. Democracy has turned to desperation. Dreams have turned to despair. This is not who we are. This is not how we want to live. We can be better.
Soon, my friends, I believe the long night will end. Our mourning and despair will cease. The morning sun will rise and dry our tears. Days of joy will return. With humility and compassion, we will move forward to become the individuals, the people, and the nation we have always dreamed we could be.
This is my hope. This is my prayer.
Photo: Overlooking Rockwell Street, Norwich, Conn.