This blog post is the third in our series inspired by the words of Amanda Gorman in “The Hill We Climb.”
Easter Sunday affirmed God’s promise of new life. The following week, creation provided humankind the majesty of early Spring—at least here in northern Ohio! Bright sunshine, a gentle breeze and temperatures in the 70’s and 80s invited people to enjoy the emergence of beauty around us. It is easier to feel hopeful about new life when the message of Easter coincides so beautifully with the blooming of spring.
Amanda Gorman’s poetic language identified steps to embrace hope while we continue to appreciate Spring, move through pandemic protocols and adjust to life’s challenges:
We will rebuild, reconcile and recover
and every known nook of our nation and
every corner called our country,
our people diverse and beautiful will emerge,
battered and beautiful
Battered and Beautiful
The COVID-19 pandemic created rapid, chaotic change and upended life in our homes, schools, places of work, within our wider communities, and around the world. Yes, we have been battered this past year by the traumatic winds of change, and yet we remain. All of humankind has suffered various tragedies, but we also reflect the colorful beauty of our creator’s love.
As this year progresses and more people are receiving vaccinations, our collective hope is that the spread of COVID-19 will diminish. The celebration of Passover, Easter and the budding blossoms of creation reminds us that our lives continue despite the challenges we’ve faced.
Each beloved child of Creation is uniquely formed in divine love. Our beautiful soul-filled selves look with hope toward new life, healthier days and re-building stronger foundations that promote opportunities to create new memories.
To rebuild, we must take time to reflect upon what we have learned. How has this past year impacted our daily patterns and our sense of well-being? How can we make time to acknowledge what we have lost?
By remembering, giving thanks, and letting go, we make room to rebuild. Living in faith, we affirm that we are embraced on this journey by divine, steadfast love. The Psalmist’s prayer calls us to open ourselves to God, Answer me when I call, O God of my right! You gave me room when I was in distress. Be gracious to me, and hear my prayer (Psalm 4:1, NRSV). We can then be open to receive God’s vision of how to rebuild.
Opening one’s heart in love allows us to listen to the joys and concerns of others carefully. A willingness to communicate honestly is the first step toward healthy dialogue. The emotional, physical and financial stresses of the past year have created increased tensions within our individual and community relationships. Rebuilding our future on a healthy, firmer foundation demands that individuals, communities and our nation listen and respond through a filter of love. Viktor Frankl reminds us, Between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our answer. In our response lies our growth and our freedom. A personal willingness to reconcile will open doors to new relationships and pathways.
Recovery invites us to reflect upon a process of healthy resilience. In her book, Loss, Trauma, and Resilience, Therapeutic Work With Ambiguous Loss, Pauline Boss remind us there are no quick answers or solutions in recovery. Time and a willingness to be flexible in response to the stresses and strains of life and being in relationship with others creates opportunities for healthy recovery.
Gorman ultimately reminds us that we are climbing a tough hill after a very rough year following centuries of inequity and strife. During this holy season of Easter, may we open our hearts, minds, and spirits to see, experience, and affirm beauty and diversity in all God’s beloved children living in every corner of our country to continue the climb together.