FUTURE BETTER THAN OUR PAST by Rector Chris Girata
FUTURE BETTER THAN OUR PAST was published in the Katy Trail Weekly, "The Good Word" Column, March 12, 2021
Chris Girata is the Rector of Saint Michael and All Angels Episcopal Church in Dallas, TX.
Texas, and Dallas in particular, has always seemed like a community that makes things happen. I’ve lived in many other cities where the general culture wasn’t terribly confident and where people didn’t have the can-do spirit I love about Texas. It’s magnetic and attractive in such wonderful ways, and I hope it stays that way.
Texas, and Dallas in particular, has always seemed like a community that makes things happen.
You don’t have to look very far to find a local magazine, newspaper or blog writing about how attractive Texas is to businesses from states like New York and California. Texans are proud of what this state is becoming. We stand out as a friendly place where success is not only achievable, but perhaps even likely. In many ways, it seems as though so much is going so right all around us.
Yet recently, I’ve also observed some doubt about life after the pandemic. When we consider the great successes of Texas, we can’t deny the great shortcomings. There are far too many people unemployed or underemployed. There are more people in Texas without health insurance than in any other state and only one state has more of its population struggling with hunger and food insecurity. With the pain of the pandemic, and uncertainty from social dynamics to environmental degradation, we might be at risk of leaving the optimism of the past in the past.
I will be the first person to say that there are great needs and big problems left to solve. Access to education is too hard, especially for low-income families. There are shameful food deserts, lack of affordable housing and a social safety net that lets far too many people fall through the cracks. But this is Texas. This is a state—a community—that stares big problems in the face and seeks to jump even the largest hurdle. Texas has a growth-oriented mindset that has the capacity to uplift every person, rather than leaving anyone behind.
This is a moment when we as Texans can join together to make sure our future is better than our past
It can be far too easy to look around and focus only on the positives because our problems are so significant. But the Texas I know and have grown to love has so much to give and so many people who can help. This pandemic has beaten us down, but we are very far from out.
In my role as a church leader, my hope and faith are in the goodness of God and in one another. We are gifted and empowered to change the world for the better. We have power and we have agency. We have all the tools we need to help make our world better for every single person. This is a moment when we as Texans can join together to make sure our future is better than our past. This is a moment when we can represent the best of humanity, grounding our actions in love and helping lift one another to the new horizon.
"The Good Word" Column is published bi-weekly, and can be picked up at the Saint Michael South Entrance.
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