We need stories. The least interested child or adult, whether in class or church snaps to when they hear, “Let me tell you a story.” History’s a story. We need it taught, but even more to remember so we don’t repeat the worst of our past. For example, today is Juneteenth, a day commemorating the official end of slavery in 1865. But current events demonstrate not everyone got the memo then or now.
On June 2nd, I turned eighty. 80! That won’t make it into any history book but it’s part of my story. While the pandemic came out of the blue, my birthday didn’t. I’d expected it for the better part of a year and sung happy birthday for months , albeit while washing my hands. So, in light of all the suffering and dying in this world, it’s a gift to be alive with enough breath leftover to blow out a candle or two. Eighty lit candles would’ve set off smoke alarms, which usually signals to my neighbors I’m cooking supper.
So what’s the point? At eighty it’s tempting to see change as a threat, instead of a sacred opportunity. This isn’t a time to despair. We, the people, can wrest the narrative from those who divide and spread hate and fear of the other. You and I can write a history worth repeating. We can, but only if we will.
Historian, Jon Meacham in The Soul of America wrote,”In our finest hours, the soul of the country manifests itself in an inclination to open our arms rather than to clench our fists, to look out rather than to turn inward; to accept rather than to reject.”
We’re going to make history one way or another. So lets write a better story together. Each day’s a blank page.
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