January 1

January 1. A fourth gray morning in New England with the promise of drizzle and the hooded eyes of sunrise. January 1. Marking of the increments of time lacing hopes and perceptions with the seething truth of reality.

January 1, 2022. Individual stories wrapped tightly, woven into, the broader scope of who and what we are. Increments of time strung together for a past, this present and a future we cannot yet envision.

Covid has made it a season of unanticipated loss and grief. Climate change has brutally raped the forests and starved the rivers and torn apart whole communities. Violence has erupted in shell-shocked pockets and all of it has been front and center in news and media, irreverently dashing certainties and slashing illusions of strength and wholeness. So, January 1, 2022, where do we stand?

We stand on the shoulders of those who have survived calamity before us, the generations who, without our technology, navigated whole lives and managed to leave us the world we live in now. We stand with every genertion who has borne change (and that would be every generation to various extents). We stand with the truth of our human shortcomings, our failings and our flaws and with the concurrent truth that therefore we are stronger and better together. Acknowledging need for one another, believing that we can trust and help one another at every step gives so much more hope. Together. January 1, 2022, looking outward together.

And as we look outward, sharing a common past, an immediate present and a fledgling future, we can remember some of what sustained those earlier generations. There is the reverence of the bow at Japan’s Shinto shrines, the quiet of Buddhist temples, the cadence of Hebrew prayers, and the Muslim adman. And for the Christian, too, there is the reminder that it all rests in hands bigger than ours. Our best efforts in each moment in time, always striving to do the best we can, to suspect if not believe that everyone is doing the best they can at the moment, frees us to manage with what we have and envision stronger and better strategies. It even enables us to realize that those Hands bigger than ours are actually there when we are most human and most vulnerable. It is not magic or an invincible shield; it is not a antidote for all ills. Instead, it is a companion for the journey and enables us to look more deeply at oursleves and one another, to realize that to someone, each of us is incredibly special. And if humanity fails, there are the bigger Hands to hold onto. In the end, it is not about the time that slips by but about the ways we live in our time, the sense we have not only of self but of other and Other.

The LORD bless you and keep you!
The LORD let his face shine upon
you, and be gracious to you!
The LORD look upon you kindly and
give you peace!

January 1, 2022. Looking outward. Confident. Together. Hope-filled. Trusting in the Bigger Hands.

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