A Letter to the New Year
Dear Spirit of 2021,
Are you overjoyed with everyone’s eagerness to step into a new year? We are definitely
ready to walk with you, anticipating joy and being relieved to think that better days might
be ahead of us.
And yet, all is not rah-rah and happiness. I see you stretching out your hand to hold your
older sister’s. 2020’s eyes are wet with tears. She leans over, heavily burdened with the
weight and intensity of the grief she carries—those hundreds of thousands of deaths due to
the coronavirus. Charcoal smudges from wildfires stain her face while on her feet she still
wears knee-high boots from the flooding of monsoons and hurricanes. Her robe exposes
torn, ragged edges from endless political enmity yanking her back and forth.
With her free hand, 2020 reaches out with empathy to touch nature, sensing the pain of the
planet caused by carelessness and abuse. A large, leather purse is slung across one
shoulder, the contents almost empty from all she’s given to those impoverished and now
destitute from the disparity between wealth and poverty. Yet, this sister of yours still has
strength enough to lift high a large sign with the robust letters: “Black Lives Matter.”
As this older sister accompanies you, I recognize your caring attentiveness to her. I
understand. I, too, am concerned that in our hurry to flee into fresh freedom we do not
quickly set aside what we have experienced and were meant to learn. I am grateful for how
your sister led us to our courage and compassion, how she lifted our veiled hearts to
behold loved ones anew and dedicated, frontline workers we took for granted, and for
helping us believe we had more resilience than we realized.
Dear Spirit of 2021, you know that in spite of how we have grown in our care, we may
wander and stumble at times in this spacious new year you bestow to us. We will
sometimes fall into the old trap of thinking our opinions and way of life are better than
anyone else’s. We may easily forget that our hearts are to be welcoming ones without
closed doors of animosity.
So I look to you for strengthening our truest selves where enduring love abides. I count on
you to sustain our hope. Whisper tender reminders to our hearts to be kind. Keep sending
your untiring messages of ”stay open” to our minds. As we reach forth and accept your
welcoming hand, we extend our other hand outward and fill it with prayer for those
affected by the countless forms of suffering that go with us as we move forward.
I envision you receiving us with a wide embrace, Spirit of 2021. I also see how you are
unwilling to release your sister’s hand until she has been fully attended to by us. So, here
we go, hand in hand in hand, one step at a time. Let us walk bravely, compassionately, with
immense gratitude for what is ours to tend with love and goodwill.