John's February Article

01 Mar 21

 How can we age with grace? How can we inspire others? 

Those two questions were in my mind after I heard President Biden’s inaugural speech on 20th January, because it came as a surprise to me that the new President of America is 78 years old! What was also very inspiring was the young woman of 22 who recited her poem at his inauguration, Amanda Gorman.  Two people at either end of the age spectrum, yet both bringing such inspiring words to the world’s attention and in such a gracious way! To get their message across, there was no shouting, no melodrama, no anger.

As I re-read President Biden’s inaugural speech he said, ‘My whole soul is in today, my whole soul is in this: Bringing our country together, uniting our people, uniting our nation.  I ask every person to join me in this cause.  Uniting to fight the foes we face – anger, resentment and hatred, extremism, lawlessness, violence, disease, joblessness and hopelessness.’  It was inspiring to be motivated by someone who could so easily have retired from public office 20 years before becoming president. Do you know what his 2nd ambition was? To be ordained as a priest.

In his speech, President Biden called on people in his nation to be ‘different and better’.  He said, ‘Many centuries ago, St Augustine, the saint of my church, wrote that a people were a multitude defined by the common objects of their love. What are the common objects we love? What defines us?  Recent weeks have taught us a painful lesson: there is truth and there are lies, lies told for power and profit. We have a duty and responsibility to defend the truth and defeat the lies.’ 

President Biden concluded by saying: Here’s the thing about life.  There’s no accounting for what life will deal you. Some days you need a hand. There are other days when you’re called to lend a hand.  That’s how it has to be, that’s what we do for one another. 

Lastly, turning to the opening words of Amanda Gorman’s poem, she wrote:

When day comes, we ask ourselves where can we find light in this never-ending shade?

The loss we carry, a sea we must wade.

We’ve braved the belly of the beast.

We’ve learned that quiet isn’t always peace,

And the norms and notions of what “just” is isn’t always justice.

And yet, the dawn is ours before we knew it.

Somehow, we do it. Somehow, we’ve weathered and witnessed a nation that isn’t broken,

but simply unfinished.

We, the successors of a country and a time where a skinny Black girl descended from slaves and raised by a single mother can dream of becoming president, only to find herself reciting for one. 

May you continue to keep safe, stay healthy and lend a hand where needed too!

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