IMAGINE WHAT FUTURE HOLDS by Rector Chris Girata
IMAGINE WHAT FUTURE HOLDS was published in the Katy Trail Weekly, "The Good Word" Column, November 6, 2020
Chris Girata is the Rector of Saint Michael and All Angels Episcopal Church in Dallas, TX.
There’s an old adage that has always made me chuckle: Today is the first day of the rest of your life! This statement is blatantly obvious and true every day, but for us, I hope it’s truer today than it has seemed recently. We need a fresh start, a new beginning and I think it’s in our DNA to be part of the change.
Our country was founded with a hopefulness that revolutionized the world. America’s ideals of equality and opportunity have been incredibly aspirational and although we have never fully realized those ideals for all people, the long arc of our country has pointed in the right direction.
Today, let's imagine what the future holds.
There is an energy in our country. Depending on your perspective, that energy might be scary or depressing. But for me, that energy is exciting because it means that people care. I believe that apathy is the most dangerous position. When we are apathetic to the world around us, we can’t find the energy to do anything. Stasis might be comforting at times, but nothing ever happens when we don’t move forward. For the first time in a long time, I feel the movement.
As an eternal optimist, I see a lot around me that is hopeful. Consider voter turnout. Before election day, the national early voting numbers broke all previous records. In Texas specifically, more people voted before election day than voted in 2016 in total. The energy is enormous, especially among the youngest voters. This is a moment in our history when more people are engaged in civic discourse and civic action than in recent memory and that can become a moment for good.
Whenever people are more engaged in their civic life, they become more aware of other people. Here in Dallas and in North Texas, we have incredible diversity. Becoming more aware of others and learning about how others differ can make us more compassionate, more considerate, and more generous. I believe our community will choose that path.
No matter what happens this week, we are resilient, we are generous and we can bring about a brighter future together.
This year, through the ups and downs, through quarantines, social unrest and constant election noise, I have seen a level of generosity to help those most vulnerable unlike I’ve seen in years of work here. Throughout 2020, I have witnessed new people volunteering for the first time in amazing ways. Perhaps people are trying to ease their anxiety. Perhaps people are feeling guilty for what they have. Or perhaps people are learning, ever so slowly, that the people around them are valuable, that they matter, and that they yearn for connection.
By the time you read this article, I hope the election has been clearly determined. But make no mistake, our engagement, our compassion, and our energy should not stop on Election Day. There is a lot to be done in this world and a lot of healing to do. No matter what happens this week, we are resilient, we are generous and we can bring about a brighter future together.
We can’t rebuild when everything is normal. So much has been thrown up in the air that we can now rebuild.
"The Good Word" Column is published bi-weekly, and can be picked up at the Saint Michael South Entrance.
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