I've just returned from the annual winter solstice service at my church. Earlier tonight, we lit the seventh Hanukkah candle. (This photo is from last night.) Meanwhile, across the room, our Christmas tree twinkles its steadfast glow.
As I wrote here this time last year, my family celebrates everything. All this season's festivals join in common cause: to remind us that, even amid the darkest and longest of days, the light will return. And man, do I ever feel that this year.
I've met about 15 book deadlines in my life, the latest a week ago today. That project came hard on the heels of Election Day. In other words, I really didn't get a break between the time Larry Grant was named a national netroots candidate in late August and a week ago today. I did take off a few days here and there, but overall, I was going full-tilt-boogie for nearly four months. I am relieved that is over. I feel an undeniable sense of lightness in seeing several projects accomplished. There are fresh challenges ahead, but none of them are demanding my immediate attention.
The elections themselves helped, too. Finally, at least on the national level and here in my community, people stood up and said it is time for a change. I won't kid myself that the darkest days are all behind us. Clearly, we have many soul-wrenching days and nights ahead as the world figures out how to best resolve the chaos in the Middle East, the genocide in Darfur, and tensions elsewhere. But the United States took a giant step this fall toward rejecting fear and hegemony and rejoining the world community.
At the solstice service, most of the hundred or so people gathered stood to place a candle in a large tray of sand. Some did so in silence; others said a few words. I understood the silence: How can you boil down your hopes and dreams for the new light in a mere phrase? But here's what I came up with: "I seek to have patience with myself and others, and a strong, clear vision." I wish that for all my fellow citizens and, most of all, for our leaders. Lightness of being, clarity of vision, and strength of purpose. Can a miracle happen anew?