On the threshold of February 2021
I am writing this text on the 20th of January, a historical day for several reasons. On a global level, the inauguration speech from the new US President Biden sounded like a homily with values from the Gospel. It was also impressive to see a Catholic priest opening the ceremony with a prayer and a reference to Saint Augustine and Pope Francis. Religion, politics, and finance can be used for so many things, but when we use these instruments for the service of community and communion between people, their power of transformation can be immense. As Pope Francis says: “We seek allies for poverty relief, saving our common home Mother Earth, and for the fair distribution of the available resources through fair trade and participation in the global economy. In other words: We meet each other in the doing of good!”
More locally in The Netherlands, this was also the day that plans for new restrictions to prevent the Coronavirus from spreading were announced in the news. The fear of the British mutation of the virus made it necessary for drastic decisions. We have not been subjected to curfews and a ban on inter-continental flights since World War II. It was another historical day…
A day like this makes one reflect on life in 2021 through different lenses. Hope and fear, new beginnings and uncertainty about the future, the influence of politics, money and religion in our lives and most of all, a feeling of not being in control. Life is vulnerable and we learn more and more during these challenging times, how precious and sacred it is.
With all the extensive news coverage on Corona, Brexit, and the recent milestone moments in Washington, the other ongoing news has lost interest for the media. While it is true that many people suffer from the effects of the Corona virus, the ongoing struggle of refugees as well as the growing number of homeless people on the streets who have nowhere to turn to during the curfew continue “as normal”. The news of a 54-year-old man, who had been dead for some time found buried under the snow in Madrid, is a powerful reminder for us to keep our focus on those who are less fortunate than us and who do not receive extensive media coverage.
During a time like this, we feel deprived of many things, but it is also a time for us to count our blessings for what we do have. Our health, our food, the roof over our heads and the many other comforts that we enjoy cannot be taken for granted. We are on the lucky side of life! During the precious time that we have at our disposal, we can choose to be grateful, joyful, and generous for the benefit of ourselves, our planet, and our neighbour. Besides the new corona vaccine, these ingredients offer a good path for much needed healing.