Dear Ground of Being:
As we are rightfully concerned for the fate of our nation, let us remember and hold in our hearts the people in places that have it much worse:
The people of Syria: displaced and ravaged.
The people from Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador where so many have fled due to record levels of violence, torture and death.
The Rohingya in Myanmar escaping genocide and now displaced in Bangladesh.
The Refugees everywhere who have traveled unbelievable distances and through unimaginable harms to be turned away, silenced, detained and imprisoned.
And famine has returned. World-wide efforts to avert famine came to a blessed fruition, with the last famine being a short one in South Sudan in 2017. Now, driven by wars and the economic dislocations brought by the coronavirus pandemic, and lockdowns that inhibit aid, famine looms again. So let us remember and hold in our hearts the famine-stricken in Yemen, South Sudan, Burkino Faso, Nigeria – and 16 other countries that don’t yet but soon may be facing mass food shortage.
Poverty and disruptions from the pandemic may push 13 million additional girls into child marriages, the UN warns. Disrupted campaigns against female genital mutilation may result in two million more girls subjected to that pain, fear, humiliation, and permanent curtailment of their human expression and birthright. Reduced access to contraception may lead to 15 million unintended pregnancies. Access to the means of literacy is narrowing: an additional 72 million children may be consigned to illiteracy as a repercussion of the pandemic.
And as we in the rich countries are impatient at the months it will take for the vaccine to reach most of us, in poor country, it will be years. In many poor countries, 2021 will end before one-fifth of their population is vaccinated. Let us remember – for to be forgetful would be to disconnect, to relinquish a part of our own humanity.
Let us hold in our hearts all who suffer, for they are we. We remember, too, in gratitude, the long hours of care put in by health workers, in our country and around the world. We hold in gratitude those who grow, harvest and transport food. Our thanks to aid organizations, and to schools and teachers everywhere striving to push back the ignorance that so destroys human flourishing. Our thanks and undying gratitude to everything in the universe that made us and gave us the capacity we have for compassion, for love, for joy, for purpose and meaning.
We ask of ourselves the mindful intention to delight in what is good, to confront what is cruel, to heal what is broken.