“We shall nobly save, or meanly lose, the last best hope of earth. Other means may succeed; this could not fail. The way is plain, peaceful, generous, just — a way which, if followed, the world will forever applaud, and God must forever bless.” -Abraham Lincoln

Like many, my eyes watched the disturbing images at the Capitol today. My heart is breaking for our nation. We should be celebrating the peaceful transfer of power today. Instead, those who stoke the fires of division created one of the scariest moments in the history of our republic. It is angering that this was permitted and even encouraged. It clearly was representative of the double-standards that exist in enforcing the law for anyone aware of history. We had feared for the longest time that this would happen as the seeds of hatred, mistrust, and destruction were sown. Enough is enough.

We have to find a way to move forward as a nation despite those who wish to deny the truth. These rioters’ violent and disrespectful actions betray the rule of law upon which our country is based. We cannot tolerate these acts, and people of hope and goodwill must stand firm to continue to heal and defend our democracy. President-elect Biden called us to reflect on the words in the quote above spoken by Abraham Lincoln during the Civil War. We are standing in the balance of history once again. We have the power to come back together to do the work. We have witnessed the power of our vote and our voice–all as outlined in our Constitution. Our duty continues beyond the ballot as we find ways to move forward together sorting out our differences. It is essential to do the work first on ourselves and then in our communities by uniting with those willing. It will take time, yet those who chose hatred and fear cannot have the final say. This is not the only crisis when our democracy has been challenged, but it brings things into clearer focus. Our civil graces can help restore the discourse in preserving our fragile and noble institutions of self-governing.

Today is the Epiphany feast, also known as the Twelfth Night of the Christmas season. My family celebrates “little Christmas,” and we look to the three gifts presented by the Magi, wise rulers. It is a time when we think of manifesting the miracles of the season of love–something we carry forth into the days ahead for the rest of the year.

The end of December is a time of deep emotion for me, and this year, it was hard to put my thoughts into words. In addition to 2020 being a very challenging year on its own, it was the fifth anniversary of my dad’s passing two days before Christmas. His memory is still a veil over the holiday and my birthday, which comes two days later. It is also when love was renewed when Vince and I had our first date, the vision of New Year’s hopes, and the celebration of my first daughter’s 22nd birthday. Holding the space for the sadness of the loss together with the joy of love is deep heart work. It opens oneself to the manifestation of truth, wisdom, and courage. Three gifts that can help lead us in our current situation as a nation today.

I have been critiqued for being “too soft” on what sometimes are complicated issues by calling us back to civil graces. I have discovered that yes, there are moments when anger gets the best of me, and I want an immediate resolution to issues. However, long term results to the big things we must overcome take patience, compassion, and respect. It requires reflection on where we missed the mark and where we need to offer forgiveness. It also requires calling forth justice and the balance between our powers. We need all our talents and skills to move past the violence and hatred among us to create a new and better world. As scary as this day was, today, we honor leaders such as Stacey Abrams, whose vision is reshaping our representative government by ensuring everyone has a voice and a vote. Regardless of what side of the aisle you stand on, we need to listen to each other and find the path forward. Our destinies are tied together, and our brightest days are ahead if we lead with love instead of fear.

Let us all unite in praying for our democracy. Nothing is achieved in violence. May we all remember the civil graces that connect us. Happy New Year!

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