Tears came to my eyes when I saw the headline, that our president-elect is calling us into a time of mourning for those who have died from the pandemic. We are called, on the even of the inauguration at 5:30 p.m. to ring bells and light buildings and recognize those who have died.
Though it is not conceivable to mourn 350,000 people, pausing to try to grasp this enormity is important—and that we do it as a nation. As we mourn, let us also mourn those who have died from other causes at a higher rate because of the stress on our health systems and people’s fears about going in for care: more than 200,000 people died of causes other than COVID in 2020 over 2019.
Don’t think I have ever wished for church bells before—however, I wish that bells be rung from every church, temple, mosque, and other houses of worship to accompany us into this time of recognition, reckoning, and reconciliation. Though the official event will be in East coast time, I will have lights on at my home and ring a bell at 5:30 Pacific for the thought of a rolling wave of mourning across our nation seems a fitting way to begin this new time. This time will carry the anguish of the year we have just spent—and the other anguishes of hatred in the last five years and yet it will also carry possibility.
Also on my heart today, these words of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.: “Shattered dreams are a hallmark of our mortal life.”