By Roberts Scott
All writers in Op Ed are here to inform and acknowledge issues of importance to our communities, however these writings represent the views and opinions of the authors and not necessarily of The Advertiser.
In the life of a nation, as in the life of a family, there are times that call for a new beginning. The proximate cause may be a joyous one – the end of a pandemic for a nation, a newborn member for a family. Or it may be a traumatic one – the final end of a particularly bad administration for a nation, the death of a loved one for a family. In each case, there is a time to look back and to remember and to learn and to cherish the good and learn from the rest. But that time must end, and it must be followed by the prospect, welcome or not, of a new beginning, of a new normal that hardly seems normal but that presents its own daily challenges and opportunities. We Americans are finding ourselves in just such a time, in January 2021.
What opportunities and what challenges will this new beginning bring? For our nation, there is the prospect of a society that is more open and more welcoming than it has been in the recent past. The Christian and every other enlightened religion teaches us that an open and welcoming society elevates several day-to-day challenges to the central status in our lives. Love one another, and love our God. Seek out those who are hungry in our midst, and feed them, or ensure they are fed. Seek out those who are homeless or friendless, and be that friend and, to the extent possible, ensure they have that home. Find those who in winter are ill-prepared for it –whether we are talking about the actual season of cold weather or a more subjective winter of personal hardships – and ensure that they face that winter not alone, but are clothed with the support of the rest of us who routinely bask in the warmth that we bring to one another. And seek out those who are strangers in our midst – some of whom just arrived here but others who have been strangers among us for a lifetime – and welcome them to our community, the community that is, or ought to be, our family writ large.
Of course, America in January 2021 is still looking forward to another new beginning, when the global pandemic of COVID-19, if not fully behind us, has become completely manageable and the “new normal” begins to resemble once again the old normal, with its quirks but with all of its bounteous blessings.
The new beginning of January 2021 should be a challenge to all of us, rich or poor, Republican or Democrat, church-going or atheist, old or young. We surely have all learned from the recent past, which has been more fully replete with lessons learned or waiting to be learned then perhaps any other period in all our lifetimes. How will we face this new beginning? And how will we face the new beginning to come, when the pandemic ends? Cherishing one another, and truly living the lessons taught us by our shared heritage of every religion would be a very good place to start. Let us all resolve that, when the year 2021 is reaching its end, we can say together that we lived up to that challenge, and that the year of the New Beginning was, indeed, a wonderful year.