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Auld Lang Syne . . .

A phrase heard around the world as we say good-bye to 2020 is “ What a year!" We move into 2021 carrying the consequences, the aftermath, the grief, and the lessons of a year of global upheaval, awareness, and opportunity too.

by The Rev. Dr. Ginger Brasher-Cunningham on December 30, 2020

Auld Lang Syne . . .

A phrase heard around the world as we say good-bye to 2020 is “ What a year!" We move into 2021 carrying the consequences, the aftermath, the grief, and the lessons of a year of global upheaval, awareness, and opportunity too. As we reset ourselves in hopes of vaccines and ways to imagine some community gatherings in the future, may we embrace all we have learned. This adapted poem The Layers by Stanley Kunitz invites space to reflect on what has been, is, and might be. May we take some notes, offer some prayers, lean into to God, listen to our hearts, discover healthy rhythms to life, and imagine how we rebuild communities of love.

I have walked through many lives,
some of them my own,
and I am not who I was,
though some principle of being
abides, from which I struggle
not to stray.
When I look behind,
as I am compelled to look
before I can gather strength
to proceed on my journey,
I see the milestones dwindling
toward the horizon
and the slow fires trailing
from the abandoned camp-sites,
over which scavenger angels
wheel on heavy wings.
Oh, I have made myself a herd
out of my true affections,
and my herd is scattered!
How shall the heart be reconciled
to its feast of losses?
In a rising wind
the manic dust of my friends,
those who fell along the way,
bitterly stings my face.
Yet I turn, I turn,
exulting somewhat,
with my will intact to go
wherever I need to go,
and every stone on the road
precious to me.
In the quiet of night,
when the moon was covered
and I roamed through wreckage,
a nimbus-clouded voice
directed me:
“Live in the layers,
not on the litter.”
Though I lack the art
to decipher it,
no doubt the next chapter
in my book of transformations
is already written.
I am not done with my changes.

As the calendar flips to the idea of a hope-filled year, we are still changing. Even weighed down, many venture forward as people more aware of injustice, privilege, and need. We step out into a new year, layered with a loss from the last and share a cup of kindness as community to rebuild.

May God’s love and grace surround you. Happy New Year!

Peace, Ginger

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