So I am sitting in the office waiting for someone to arrive at the church office to replace the broken windshield on the church van, watching cnn.com live. So much has happened and changed for my family in this past year, that it has been hard to slow down and process the amount of good and also difficult things that have taken place. But sitting here this morning, in the quiet office, listening to the radio and watching things online, seeing the excitement of people on the mall, or hearing the stories of folks traveling hundreds or thousands of miles to be at the inauguration has been powerful for me. I heard a story on NPR this morning of an African-American woman who is 105 years old, who has seen so much change, experienced so much discrimination, and who would stop at nothing to make her way to DC with the help of some folks to witness with her own eyes, an event that she never thought she would live to see. And on one hand I am struck by the enormity of this situation, of the significance of an event today that perhaps stretches beyond words, and exemplifies a tide of change and restored hope in the power of goodness, kindness and service towards others. But on the other hand, I am amazed at the simplicity and innate importance of relationships and life stories. To even stop for a second this morning and reflect on the life experiences that this woman had in her 105 years of life, and how those experiences have shaped her and formed her into the person she is today, is humbling and simply inspiring.
Recently, as my son Rowan is starting to watch the movements of his mom and I more closely, and interact in ways that try to elicit a response from us, I realize that Rowan will be growing up in a world that is different than mine. One in which race, sexuality, religion, and hyper-connectivity will be or will continue to be issues to be worked out in the global village...but I have some newfound hope for him today. That perhaps differences can actually be overcome. That perhaps race will not divide us as it once has in this country. That the world and life experiences which form him, will not be steeped in as much ignorance as the generations before him. A world in which the relationships and life stories of the women, children, and men whose lives were often ignored or cast aside as the losers of history, or purposely forgotten for the sake of progress, that these life stories will rise to the surface and help remind us all of our shared humanity and need for humility.
I know that Rowan is not aware of what is happening on an intellectual level today, but I am excited for him, and I hope that he can feel the excitement and hope in his mom and I today as we rejoice over this moment of history. And I look forward to Rowan growing up in light of the hopeful change that is taking place today at the inauguration of our new president. May the grace of God be with Obama and his family, and may we each do our part, not to make America great, but to unite in our shared humanity, to celebrate both the beauty and significance of this day, while also do our best to listen to the stories of those who had once been discriminated, left out, and ignored so that we may not repeat the mistakes of the past or leave untold the stories of those who are most easily forgotten.
Lord have mercy. Christ have mercy. Lord have mercy.