Traditionally, the op-ed pieces that are written when an old year passes and a new one is born confine themselves to looking back and looking ahead, and that is not a problem. Making them fresh, however, can be. That had been my intention, but it was one of those times when nothing “took.” On a personal note, 2020 had been a remarkable year. In August we celebrated my mother, Mary Ellen Hersman White’s, 100th birthday via a Zoom call that united cousins, siblings, and friends through the miracle of modern technology; people who had not seen each other in decades still reconnected even though we could not physically gather in one place as my mother’s predecessors had when they became centenarians. It was a memorable moment. And, it also seems surreal that just four days ago, my mother passed away; and again, because of the ability to Facetime her while a most-kindly caregiver named Gerald held the phone, I sang some of her favorite songs to her for about 20 minutes. For me it has been one of those “only-one-set-of-footprints-showing-up-in-the-sand” moments, and I know I am being carried in the strongest of arms because right now I can’t walk under my own steam. In reality, we never really can, we just tell ourselves that we do. And it is here that I would like to attempt to express the inexpressible: never will I be able to thank people appropriately for their manifestations of love to me and my family.
So, bringing this Point back to the title, why is it that 2021 has to be wild? Simply, because as of January 1, there are too many things that need to come to a tipping point to be resolved to any degree. In my view, the fierce, uncivil seas have to crash like a wave on the shore and most likely be messy if some of the things about which we have been screaming at each other are to be hammered out. No matter the cost, there must be a straight, truthful path hewn through a tangled, swampy jungle. We have to decide who we are going to be as a nation. The contested election has shown me how much I don’t know about the Constitution, a document I have studied at the college level, routinely cite, and genuinely love. There are so many things that have emerged: the mechanics of elections, the insane lengths that people will go to in order to justify corruption to ensure a desired political outcome, and all the unseen possibilities that may rock a nation that has always experienced a peaceful transfer of power. We could see ourselves behave as the Psalmist described as those who “stagger about like drunkards at their wits’ end,” and may need to stumble hard, skin our knees and noses, and get right with our Maker before we are able to get back up to any significant level. The year 2021 needs to be wild because it looks like nothing else will get our attention, and God knows we can’t hit the snooze button and go back to sleep.
That being said, what brings me comfort is what then comes in Psalm 107 right after “the staggering:” Then they cry unto the LORD in their trouble, and he brings them out of their distresses. He makes the storm a calm, so that the waves thereof are still. Then are they glad because they be quiet; so he brings them unto their desired haven. I have no way of knowing how bad things need to get before they get better, I just know that they will get better because it is promised by the One who cannot lie. Buckle up, we are heading into turbulence. And, I can say from the bottom of my heart, that no matter how long it takes, the best is yet to come! Happy New Year!