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


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.