Dear Year 2021,
Welcome! We are so glad you are here! I mean really—words can’t express how glad we are that you are here! You’ll have to imagine our joyful squeals, our urgent prayers, our hopeful sighs, our whoops of relief, and our great gusts of belly laughs that break through these months of mourning as we turn to the new calendar—your year.
I’m writing to you now in the last days of December, perched on the very edge of my blue office chair—and not just because my shared cat Coby occupies four-fifths of its real estate. No, I’m leaning in because I can see you already in the eyes of my mind and heart. I see you (oh you of every gender and expression!) striding across the globe, purposeful, energized, wearing a giant cloak of many colors, and carrying Pandora’s old left-behind box, cradling it in your arms, knowing that its last inhabitant, Hope, is finally ready to emerge.
I hear you speak the language of wind, of breath, of music in every tonality and rhythm and style. I hear you singing now:
“Mourn the passing of my lost cousin 2020—mourn them because they cost us all so much. Yet use the days of January to refresh and rebuild your imagination! For you have still to discover its true power.
“In the year just past, you have imagined an escape—you have flung your imagination up against the high wall of what’s real, hoping for an exit strategy. Over and over you have had to watch your imagination come crashing down to the ground. It feels bruised and betrayed, I know. But escapism is not the imagination I need you to offer me, your new companion, 2021.
“Instead, do you remember, in this past year, those moments when you have reached the tendrils of your imagination out to touch (safely) everything around you, sensing the sorrow of other humans, other species, of the earth and air themselves? Do you remember how even in that pain, you also felt the energy of kinship and connection? That’s the imagination we want to build this year. Those imaginings will guide us to the remaking of this world— a world “with justice, equity, and compassion for all,” isn’t that what you Unitarian Universalists say?
“Then, remember that your imagination links you to the past as well. For it’s through your imagination that your ancestors, and all who have come before, can enter your body, can pour their wisdom into your one wild and precious life. You would not be here if they had not survived. Imagine their sources of strength and resilience, for those wellsprings are available to you too—and we will need them, you and I!
“Kindred, soulmates, I urge you: Use the days of January to refresh and rebuild your imagination! Discover its power to propel you into the landscape I lay open now before you—to send you out with the vision, the companionship, the humor, and the patience for the work we’ll do together!
“Adelante! Onward! Vas-y!
The song dies down to a whisper, but I expect to hear it again come January 1. Come, beloveds, let us learn this new song, and let us build our imaginations for this new year!
With my love too,