Even those least affected by COVID-19 and the ripple effect of its presence will be forever changed. It is understandable to desire a return to “normal.” It is human to look back on the past with a sense of clouded nostalgia, remembering things as we want to remember them, not as they actually were. But before we jump into a return to the way things were, we should take a moment to imagine the way things could be.
I want a thriving nation, not a wealthy nation. That doesn’t mean that everyone makes the same amount of money, drives the same kind of cars, and lives in the same size of houses. Instead, I want to live in a nation where physical and mental health are the norm, we are not overworked, and we are able to find satisfaction in our daily lives. This is not a utopian ideal; this is just the pursuit of progress that benefits the majority, not the few.
Through all of this, I’ve spent a lot of time reflecting. For the first time in a long time I started to understand the meaning of Advent. The waiting, the hoping, the longing for something better while sitting in the darkness. I took time I didn’t have at the end of a semester to start writing an Instagram post a day for Advent, each day on a different word. It’s been the most reflection I’ve done during Advent in a long time, and it brought me back to my word for the year, “hope.”
I am tired, but quitting isn’t an option, because the only way things will get better is if we fight for the change that will make that happen. So as difficult as it is, I will keep looking at the big picture and fight for the change that will make us better. I just don’t have it in me to stop trying.
Yes, it is uncomfortable and it is against human nature to be uncomfortable. We don’t like feeling uneasy and unsure about our past, present, and future. But the harsh truth is that we are long past overdue for an honest conversation about race and the role that the history of oppression continues to play in our present.
I love my country and I want better for her. I want to see those blinding transgressions transformed into a beautiful sunset, multiple colors mingling with the imperfections in the sky to create a stunning tapistry. I want to develop a mature patriotism, one that doesn’t put up blinders but one that sees the flaws and works towards transformation so that all citizens can feel they truly belong to the country that they call home, whether by birth or adoption.