"Love is a harsh and dreadful thing to ask of us, but it is the only answer."--Dorothy Day


Three Beautiful Things.

To start the week....

(1) Reading back and finding beautiful things from the past 3 years, that continue to be beautiful. (ie. Barack Obama, Fun with friends, Weddings!, etc.)

(2) The opportunity to negotiate.

(3) The beginnings of chilly-but-not-quite-cold weather season.


From FDR.

Tonight I went to see Michael Moore's newest liberal propaganda piece. I heart liberal propaganda...for real. Toward the end of the film, he talks about the success of the labor movement during the Great Depression, and the supportive response of President Roosevelt. In his last State of the Union Address, he spoke about the American government's responsibility to support its citizens in their pursuit of happiness and the right to equality in all aspects of their lives. It is a simple statement, but something that is sadly so, so far removed from where we currently reside. But we have Hope for tomorrow. Read on....

Excerpt from President Roosevelt's January 11, 1944 message to the Congress of the United States on the State of the Union:

It is our duty now to begin to lay the plans and determine the strategy for the winning of a lasting peace and the establishment of an American standard of living higher than ever before known. We cannot be content, no matter how high that general standard of living may be, if some fraction of our people—whether it be one-third or one-fifth or one-tenth—is ill-fed, ill-clothed, ill-housed, and insecure.

This Republic had its beginning, and grew to its present strength, under the protection of certain inalienable political rights—among them the right of free speech, free press, free worship, trial by jury, freedom from unreasonable searches and seizures. They were our rights to life and liberty.

As our nation has grown in size and stature, however—as our industrial economy expanded—these political rights proved inadequate to assure us equality in the pursuit of happiness.

We have come to a clear realization of the fact that true individual freedom cannot exist without economic security and independence. “Necessitous men are not free men.” People who are hungry and out of a job are the stuff of which dictatorships are made.

In our day these economic truths have become accepted as self-evident. We have accepted, so to speak, a second Bill of Rights under which a new basis of security and prosperity can be established for all—regardless of station, race, or creed.

Among these are:

The right to a useful and remunerative job in the industries or shops or farms or mines of the nation;
The right to earn enough to provide adequate food and clothing and recreation;
The right of every farmer to raise and sell his products at a return which will give him and his family a decent living;
The right of every businessman, large and small, to trade in an atmosphere of freedom from unfair competition and domination by monopolies at home or abroad;
The right of every family to a decent home;
The right to adequate medical care and the opportunity to achieve and enjoy good health;
The right to adequate protection from the economic fears of old age, sickness, accident, and unemployment;
The right to a good education.

All of these rights spell security. And after this war is won we must be prepared to move forward, in the implementation of these rights, to new goals of human happiness and well-being.

America’s own rightful place in the world depends in large part upon how fully these and similar rights have been carried into practice for our citizens.


On Vocation.

At CCfB, we have begun a monthly series called "On Vocation," when members of our congregation are given the opportunity to speak about the correlations between occupation, and calling and faith. This is mine....

From my earliest memories up until a series of unfortunate grades my junior year of college, I always saw myself being a school teacher. First elementary school and then, as the sarcasm and cynicism took hold, a high school English teacher. But as I finished my BA in 2001, I began to rethink and embarked on a period of corporate work as a book copy editor. So when I moved to NYC in 2002, it was to do this. And certainly my year at the college newspaper and some time textbook editing were enough to get me a stellar job during a recession when most publishers were laying off the majority of their workforce. Of course. So after about 6 months in the City and about 15 temp jobs, I began volunteering on the days I wasn’t working and to rethink my rethinking. My volunteer job was with the GMHC, where I still volunteer today, and I was one of the people in charge of intake there. I would gather each new client’s information and discuss with the person what services were available to them, and then bring this to the social worker in charge, who would assign them appropriately. This social worker and some friends I had made at Manhattan Church were my advisors as I decided to embark on a new career.

Even as a child I had a strong sense of justice and a powerfully empathic heart. This led to a wicked combination of tattling and friendship with the weird kids, which made me very popular. This has followed me and probably led me to some strange life decisions, and to what can some days be called a successful career.

Since I’ve started officially social working, I have worked with a day program and a food program for people living with AIDS; with a home visiting program for the elderly; in a public hospital as a social worker for people with HIV and in supportive housing for people with mental illness; as an outreach worker for people living on the street and as an administrator for a program for people with mental illness who are attempting to move their lives forward. In these jobs, I have been a party planner, a surrogate grandchild, an advocate, a good, impartial friend; I have put on talent shows and fashion shows and planned memorial services. I have purchased cigarettes, coffee, sandwiches, donuts, shoes, soap, medications and once a big TV. All these things in an effort to better someone’s life situation, to bring them stability and joy and safety and understanding. To fulfill the basic human need of love and belonging.

The job is obviously challenging. In my profession, it is a sign of burn-out if you begin to find the work mundane. I have found, as I have been doing this for about 5 years now, that I reach a point every so often when the weight I bear for others becomes too much for me to bear myself. I am learning to carry less and am finding ways to cope with the frequent times when my work seems futile, and my valleys are becoming less frequent and not as deep. And faith is one of the things I’ve learned to turn to.

In preparing for this I was trying to find scriptures to go with what I was saying here. I searched ‘refuge’ and ‘justice’ and ‘poor’ in the online Bible. And then I went to my own, real-time Bible and looked at the things I have marked and underlined in it. And some of those were the scriptures read today. I have always had great difficulty separating religion from life experience. I was reading an editorial about the career of Senator Ted Kennedy this week and it said that he had an “insistence that politics be grasped and administered through the prism of human needs.” At this point in my life, I feel the same way about work and faith. In seeing each person as a child of God, the person is no longer just a client, a number or a statistic. They are a human being in need of, and deserving of, dignity and compassion.

In my work, there’s a very thin line between brilliant success and utter failure. Dealings in the human condition sadly complicate things. A person knows that they are better off living inside, but finds themself afraid and claustrophobic when they are finally moved off the streets. And it becomes easier for them to live in the park during the summers. Great strides might be made toward health and stability for a person with mental illness, but regardless of resolve, the mysterious nature of brain chemistry may still land them in the hospital every 6 months. And so compassion is our highest goal. Seeing the face of God in every man, woman and child, and knowing that they are worthwhile regardless of the hate they may spew or the seeming wickedness of their behavior, and being an example of love in their lives. That is all we can do some days. And I believe that this is enough. For “what does the Lord require of us? To do justice and to love mercy and to walk humbly with our God.”


Year 7.

Today, I cross the threshold of official New Yorker status. When I moved here, I was told you aren't official until it's been 7 years. So, here we are. Here I am...the last one standing. And here is Kermit, telling us about the city we love...unless we hate it.


From Jen TB.

My friend, and fellow CCfBer, Jen had opened up her blog others as a forum about women and our relationship to the churches of Christ. So far there are eight distinct voices there (mine being the last one, just for full-disclosure) breaking what for many of us has been a long held silence. Go...read...you will not be disappointed.


Three Beautiful Things.

The last few weeks have been pretty stinkin' awful at work. But really, isn't there always something beautiful among the muck. So now Three Beautiful Things amid the goop.

(1) SYTYCD...for real, the funnest thing ever.

(2) Grown-ass people finding bliss in 4th of July arts & crafts.

(3) The beauty of possibility.


Wider Still.

I spent the last five days in Austin with Nathan and his partner Abel. It was a lovely, relaxing vacation in my favorite (non-New York) city, spent with my dearest friend. Good times were had by all.

The timing of my trip just happened to coincide with Austin Gay Pride weekend. Since moving back to Austin, Nathan has started to go to the University Baptist Church. This is a place I always wanted to go while I lived in Austin. While we were in school at UT, UBC became notorious because it had chosen to disaffiliate itself with the Southern Baptist Convention and decided to become a welcoming and affirming church, something very bold even in a liberal mecca such as Austin. On Thursday night, while I was there, the church hosted a Gay Pride Unity Service. This service brought together people from many different faith traditions to show unity and solidarity as a community, and to worship together. The experience of being in a room full of people who have taken refuge in this church, many of whom have been rejected by their families and faith communities because of their sexual orientation or gender identity, was simply profound. People being able to rest there and fully feel a part of a community of faith, knowing that there is safety and acceptance for them and their partners and their children and families.

And so I feel renewed. There are so many grave injustices that we encounter everyday that seem insurmountable. But this is not one of them. Every one of us who is part of a community of faith has the power to undo this. The power to extend a hand, open a door, open a heart and see justice done.

At the end of the service, one of the choruses sang a song called, Draw the Circle Wide. This is what we must seek to do...draw the circle wide, wide enough for everyone to stand inside. Everyone. Everyone, EVERYONE. No one stands outside.

Draw the circle wide. Draw it wider still.
Let this be our song, no one stands alone, standing side by side,
Draw the circle wide.

God the still point of the circle Round whom all creation turns;
Nothing lost, but held forever, in God’s gracious arms.

Let our hearts touch far horizons. So encompass great and small;
Let our loving know no borders, faithful to God’s call.

Let the dreams we dream be larger. Than we've ever dreamed before;
Let the dream of Christ be in us, open every door.


The Day I Saw Barack Obama.

So today sucked. Sucked. I had to work today. My train came in time, but then we all had to get off for who knows what reason. We waited 30 more minutes, and then squished ourselves onto a very crowded train. I got to work 10 minutes late and opened up. The wave of people expecting me to social work for them came in, but I said 'Oh wait. I've got to go make lunch," making good use of my graduate degree. I made a tasty tuna salad, complete with the most pungent onion known to man. Was berated by a staff person for another program, because people drank 2 cups of the coffee that she had put out in the cafeteria for people to drink two hours later. Was told that no one wanted my tuna sandwiches. Cleaned up after lunch, and went back to the office. Continued my streak of stopping people from using racial slurs when responding to their internal dialogues. Helped someone make some copies. Closed the place down. Did some work that should've been done yesterday by someone else. Walked back to the train to find that it wasn't running in my direction, so I took a ride uptown to run some errands, hoping that I could get to a stop that my train would be running from. I bought some stuff and went down to the subway, found that my train was not running there either. Got off the train and walked up the block to get a burrito. Had a mediocre, expensive burrito, and then I walked up 6th Avenue again hoping to find a way to get home. As I walked up the block a crowd had begun to gather, and traffic had been blocked off for all of 6th Avenue.

I, very unlike myself, stopped to observe and see if I could figure it out. And then I noticed the clear blue sky. And then a police helicopter. Then 50 or so cops go by on motorcycles. And then some dark cars with dark tinted windows just light enough to see the faces of the people inside. The people in front of me said, "He must be in the second car." I look up and see in the second car a very familiar face. "What?!?!" I said loudly in my head. "That's Barack Obama." And then he was gone. The scene on the street afterward is my favorite part. We all stood there for a moment and then started slowly walking up the block again, but our smiles are wider, our hearts are lighter. Some people have yet to be able to move, but stand there hand on chest in besotted sigh. Others call their friends, their moms. "Mama! I just saw Barack!" It was like a cross between those pictures of the screaming girls at Beatles' concerts and the "We Got Annie!" scene in Annie. I'm gonna call it We Got Barack. Holy cow! Those 30-seconds are so worth the crappy 8 hours that preceded them.


Mapped Out.

I have a running map in my head of New York City. It is the subway system of mid-town Manhattan, as I learned entirely too much of it in my year of temphood. It is all of the best and cleanest public restrooms in Manhattan. It is the inner recesses of Brooklyn from my home visiting internship. It is the homes of my friends in Manhattan who were the first friends I had in the City, and who are some of the only people who can get me to come above 34th Street. And it is the neighborhoods of Brooklyn where I have lived since I’ve been here, and where many of my friends have made their homes.

The Bergen Street stop in Brooklyn has always been one of my favorite stops. It is where CCfB met for the first year, and meets now. It is where the G and F lines meet, so Nathan and I used have outdoor summer dinners there before he moved to Queens, before he moved back home. And it is where you got off to go to the home of my dear friends, Joe and Laura Hays. Their apartment has always been what I wanted to my home to be. An inviting space that is often filled with good food and lots of friends, and that is subsequently the backdrop for lots and lots of wonderful memories. Thanksgivings and Christmases, Easters and birthdays, random nights when people come together for no particular reason other than to enjoy each other’s company. Countless trips to hang out with their daughter, my six year-old friend Sophia. The F-line is the one near my home, so I passed by their stop each morning on my way to work, and have a distinct memory of riding by on the day they finally got to bring their son, Ira, home from the hospital, realizing that their family was finally complete. And today, as I rolled by, I remembered that today was the day they would be leaving for St. Louis.

Joe and Laura are the founding pastors of my church, Christ's Church for Brooklyn, and have always encouraged each of us to be fully ourselves, and to allow God to love us as we wholly are, and thus to allow others to love us in this way too. We will miss them so, so much as we carry on without them, knowing this is the most important thing, as Sophia always tells us, "To Love God and Love Others!"


AIDS Walk New York.

It's AIDS Walk time again. This weekend about 40,000 New Yorkers will lace up their shoes and make the walk through Central Park in support of people living with HIV and AIDS. To support research and prevention efforts, and efforts to provide services to those living in the five boroughs who are infected with or affected by HIV. Click here to join our team, or to donate to the cause. Step Up. Stop AIDS.


In Defense of Marriage.

I have over the past week received several e-mails from the HRC detailing new campaigns against gay marriage. I am obviously for equal marriage rights for LGBT people, so I have been trying to understand why it is that one would stand against this so fervently. Really, if we're that concerned about protecting the institution of marriage, I don't think it's LGBT people we need to fear, or the marriage of any particular combination of consenting willing adults we need to outlaw. If we're really so concerned about marriage then maybe we should begin by outlawing divorce, or infidelity, or flirtation, or fantasy. Or Britney Spears, or Maxim, or X-box, Playstation, etc. Or disatisfaction, or wandering eyes, or long hours, or business trips. Or MySpace (not Facebook...we love you). Or, I guess, the whole Internet. Or football, baseball, basketball season. Or Las Vegas. Or any and all REAL housewives. Or massive lay-offs and economic collapse. Or rushing in to, or rushing out of marriage too quickly. Not the union to two souls who wish to be together, who have fought long and hard for their relationship to be recognized, who love each other, and deserve to be treated as equals.

Let me know if I missed anything.

P.S.--Feel free to leave me explanations, but please don't leave me bigotry or misused Bible verses in the comments. I will delete them and you will have wasted your time, and then I will be forced to go to your blog and leave extensive discourse on why 90s Madonna was great, but nothing compares to 80s Madonna, and we won't even talk about millenial Madonna. You've been warned.


Where I Live.

Over the past few months, I have found within myself a shift from being sad at injustice to being infuriated by it. I don't really know why this is. I do enjoy the anger a bit more. I feel like it is a more active emotion, which is not good in many instances as it leads to violence and vengeance and whatnot. But it can also mean positive change, motivation to no longer remain silent about injustice and to move on the behalf of those who are impacted. So, yes...rage.

When I read the papers and on the rare occasion that I watch the news, I can only sit and sigh (or on occasion curse). Stories of increasing home foreclosure means more people will be homeless, and these people will be families with children or elderly people with little income. Stories of increased crime and violence in all corners of the globe, the economies of entire countries nearing collapse, mounting global poverty as aid slows due to lack of funding. And I do not know how we got here or why this was allowed to happen. I am perplexed at the short-sightedness of all our solutions, not understanding that crime rises for a reason, that young men turn to terrorism for a reason, that even pirates have families. That nothing occurs in isolation of what has come before it. I do not believe that people turn to crime because they are lazy, or terrorism because they are evil. It is centuries of prejudice and acts of terrorism carried out by so-called liberators that have led us to this point.

But I guess it's easier to answer problems in isolation. To address terrorism rather than intolerance. To address piracy rather than poverty. And I don't say this in a self-righteous, 'look at me talkin' about lofty social problems" sort of way. I mean it for real. If we admit that we are responsible for these problems and that it is our responsibility to now solve them, then it can no longer be someone else's job to think about these things and to make them better. It's yours. This is where I'm living. So yes....wrath.


A Deep Breath.

I spend alot of time listening to other people's stories. And then another significant measure watching and reading other people's stories. The majority of these stories are sad, and frustrating, and frightening, at many turns, deeply disturbing. And so I find myself a bit weighed down most of the time. Sometimes very, very weighed down. So I watch less crime drama, and stop reading about war. I look for jobs working with refugees, with orphans, with prisoners, with veterans, in hospitals, in hopes of proactivity lessening my burden. I go back to work, and offer advice rather than listening as I should. I look for something outside myself--relationships, activities, uninvolved work, religion-- or something more deeply inside myself--meditation, focus, hope--to offer support. But I am too practical and cannot shake my feelings of responsibility to my fellow man, or my guilt at not giving enough, or at allowing my heart to get in the way.

I wish, oh how I wish, I was able to fully believe in something. At times I find myself envying some of my patients, because they can say with utmost certainty (however delusional it may be) to God speaks to them, and knows them, and has a purpose for them and for their suffering. But I cannot see this most of the time. This week I have watched a television show about child soldiers, read a story about the irreparable harm done to prisoners put in solitary confinement or by the social isolation of homelessness, and listened to scores of stories about desperation, and destitution, and deprivation. And I sleep less, and work more, and make an attempt at prayer, and contemplate another tattoo, or a drum, or an angsty pair of shoes. And I think about the possibility of God actually working that way. Of having a purpose for every person and every horrible occurrence, at hope coming from despair, and joy from sadness. I take a deep breath and I step off to begin a new day. And I hope that belief can come from wanting. That peace can come from belief.


Building Walls.

When the violence between Israel and Hamas was renewed at the end of last year, I decided that I needed to understand. I know that there are thousands of years of history that have led them to this point. Failed treaties; ignored agreements; violent acts committed by terrorists rather than governments, but bringing the organized retaliation of a government. Anyway, I decided that I needed to understand, so I bought Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid by Jimmy Carter, in hopes that the president of my birth could help me out. And I feel that after reading this, I do understand, at least a little bit, why it is that this is so, so difficult and so long-lived a conflict. But really for me the most difficult part of it was the building of the wall between Israel and the West Bank, separating people from family members, and business enterprise, food and clothing, supplies, gasoline, electricity.

And then I read an article in the New Yorker about Mumbai, in the wake of Slumdog Millionaire. The children who live in the slums of Mumbai, like those portrayed in the movie, live off of what they can find to sell, what they can find that's edible. They die from preventable diseases, and have a rate of malnourishment equal to that of countries in Sub-Saharan Africa. All of this with burgeoning business and tourist enterprises within reach, but blocked by walls of concrete topped with barbed wire and broken glass.

This brings me to our border fence. We read each week about new violence in Mexico, how the cities are not safe and it's spilling over into the US. We continue to build the fence to keep out the poverty we have forged that we must now keep on the other side of the wall.

We go to great troubles to separate ourselves from the disastrous world our greed and selfishness and prejudice has wrought. We create refugee camps and resettlement plans rather than find ways to forge a lasting peace. We create vast networks of homeless shelters and food pantries rather than creating affordable housing and assuring that every person is fed as they should be. Walls are no substitute for justice.


Chapter 4.

This morning, as I said good-bye to Nathan at the super swank Holiday Inn in LIC, I began to realize even more how different my life will be. I enjoy telling people our story, as the apparent mobility of my generation has made a friendship such as ours very rare. We met during our first semester at UT, and bonded over high school band memories. We finished college together and moved to NYC together. We helped start a church together. We watched alot of embarrassing television together (mostly my idea). The only time when have been apart over the last 11 years has been the first summer we were in college and the summer Nathan lived in Mexico. And tomorrow is the first day in a long, long time, we will wake up in different cities.

And so I find myself starting a new chapter in my life. I've decided it's chapter 4--childhood being chapter 1, Austin life chapter 2, early NYC chapter 3. When Nathan first confirmed for me that he was going home, I kind of panicked, not being super-fond of change. I have always had him there, as my go-to for advice, and ER escorts, and dinner, and drinks, and brunches (oh, the brunches), and the occasional financial bailout. And so I began to search for another point of stability, and I found CCfB. But then a few weeks ago, we were told that CCfB as we know it will soon cease to exist. The focal point of my week, going to PS 261 and talking to Joe and Laura, and the brilliant friends I've made there, will no longer be there due to issues of funding and logistics, and that stable point was gone. So again, I panic a little.

But I awoke this morning, knowing that I have no idea what tomorrow will bring. None at all. The fundamentals will be the same, but some fundamental things will be missing or just drastically different. My world will be rocked. And I have decided that this might be good. No matter how wild and impulsive I might seem, how edgy and adventurous, my every move is planned. Tomorrow, I begin chapter 4 with no idea what might come, and no idea what chapter 5 might look like. And maybe that's alright.


My Favorite Part...

Text of the benediction by Rev. Joseph Lowery (pictured right with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.) during President Barack Obama's inauguration:

God of our weary years, God of our silent tears, thou, who has brought us thus far along the way, thou, who has by thy might led us into the light, keep us forever in the path we pray, lest our feet stray from the places, our God, where we met thee, lest our hearts drunk with the wine of the world, we forget thee.

Shadowed beneath thy hand, may we forever stand true to thee, oh God, and true to our native land.

We truly give thanks for the glorious experience we've shared this day.

We pray now, oh Lord, for your blessing upon thy servant Barack Obama, the 44th president of these United States, his family and his administration.

He has come to this high office at a low moment in the national, and indeed the global, fiscal climate. But because we know you got the whole world in your hands, we pray for not only our nation, but for the community of nations.

Our faith does not shrink though pressed by the flood of mortal ills.

For we know that, Lord, you are able and you're willing to work through faithful leadership to restore stability, mend our brokenness, heal our wounds, and deliver us from the exploitation of the poor, of the least of these, and from favoritism toward the rich, the elite of these.

We thank you for the empowering of thy servant, our 44th president, to inspire our nation to believe that yes we can work together to achieve a more perfect union.

And while we have sown the seeds of greed — the wind of greed and corruption, and even as we reap the whirlwind of social and economic disruption, we seek forgiveness and we come in a spirit of unity and solidarity to commit our support to our president by our willingness to make sacrifices, to respect your creation, to turn to each other and not on each other.

And now, Lord, in the complex arena of human relations, help us to make choices on the side of love, not hate; on the side of inclusion, not exclusion; tolerance, not intolerance.

And as we leave this mountain top, help us to hold on to the spirit of fellowship and the oneness of our family. Let us take that power back to our homes, our workplaces, our churches, our temples, our mosques, or wherever we seek your will.

Bless President Barack, First Lady Michelle. Look over our little angelic Sasha and Malia.

We go now to walk together as children, pledging that we won't get weary in the difficult days ahead. We know you will not leave us alone. With your hands of power and your heart of love, help us then, now, Lord, to work for that day when nations shall not lift up sword against nation, when tanks will be beaten into tractors, when every man and every woman shall sit under his or her own vine and fig tree and none shall be afraid, when justice will roll down like waters and righteousness as a mighty stream.

Lord, in the memory of all the saints who from their labors rest, and in the joy of a new beginning, we ask you to help us work for that day when black will not be asked to get in back, when brown can stick around...when yellow will be mellow...when the red man can get ahead, man; and when white will embrace what is right. That all those who do justice and love mercy say Amen. Say Amen. And Amen.

What was your favorite moment today?


A New Year, A New Day.

I'm normally one to start the New Year with a post about my hopes for the coming year. However, I decided to wait for this year to begin. Today is my New Years Eve. I look to tomorrow with a hope unknown before and a knowledge that things do actually change, that my voice has been heard, that my hopes have become reality and I have been a part of an amazing day in our history. I do not know when it is that I will stop being brought to tears by the thought of Barack Obama and his family in the White House, but my tears of joy are a welcome change.

There is a program on NPR called "This I Believe." When I began listening to it, I also began thinking about what it is that I believe, above all things.

I believe in hope.

In the summer of 2008, I got my second tattoo—the word hope in a box on my left wrist. With time and the weathering caused by its odd location, and because of my penchant for punctuation, it has come to look like a command stamped permanently on me. The tattoo artist, Jeff P. (look him up, he’s very good), asked me why I was getting it. And I replied, “Because, sometimes I need a reminder.”

Since I got the tattoo, I’ve begun to notice the word everywhere, like when you buy a car and begin to see it all over the road. In the mundane, “I hope that goes on sale,” “I hope you are well,” “I hope this economy gets better soon.” In poetry, “Hope is the thing with feathers/That perches in the soul,/And sings the tune--without the words,/And never stops at all”. In politics, for “while we breathe, we will hope.” In a speech by Harvey Milk, “The only thing they have to look forward to is hope. And you have to give them hope. Hope for a better world, hope for a better tomorrow, hope for a better place to come to if the pressures at home are too great. Hope that all will be all right.”

I’ve thought a lot this year about hope. What it really means to give someone hope. To show them what might be. In Spanish the word for “hope” is the same as the word for “wait.” Waiting for something better. Waiting for something to come along that will bring us out and make things better again. Hope moves us forward when things get rough. Hope is the last thing we turn to, and the last thing we lose. Hope gave us a new president.

Hope will spur us forward into tomorrow, despite our failing economy, our knowledge that the world is not as it should be—that millions of people live in poverty, their lives torn apart by war and disease, their hearts broken by the destruction of their homes and families, feeling forgotten by the world community—for tomorrow is a new day. Tomorrow our president will close Guantanamo Bay. Tomorrow our president will listen to the millions of voices crying out for change. Millions of voices who have gone unheard until that day. But my hope does not lie with Barack Obama alone. It lies with the fact that millions of people actually believe that something better is possible, and that we have the power to make a better world.

Today, I can feel the collective inhalation of a coming global sigh of relief. The deep and cleansing breath of a New Day.