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Dear 2022

Dear 2022,

I'm going to be honest. I'm struggling. Hope is hard for me to find when I look ahead. So much of what I wrote to 2021 is still true.

Even as we look to you as a new start, we still

bring with us broken systems, systematic racism, sexism, ableism, homophobia, transphobia, a world groaning in response to our bad stewardship and our worship of power and wealth.

And just like in 2020, in 2021,

the wealthy had their coffers grow and grow while debates raged on about how much rent money the government could spare for the rest.

Because the "essential" workers in our economy are the ones who are paid the least and have the least protections.

Because race continues to play a role in how people are treated by health care providers and law enforcement (and every other area of life too).

Because our educational system is full of inequalities and there are no easy answers.

Because we need to work on our understanding of freedom and perhaps decide compassion, stewardship, justice are just as valuable.

And I can't help thinking about the history class where I learned the truth in "the arc of moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice" is limited. Because with every movement towards justice, towards equality, there is backlash.

Freedom from slavery led to Black Codes, sundown towns, Jim Crow, redlining, incarceration as a means of free labor.

Moves toward gender equality has been met with new attempts to control and limit the rights and autonomy of women even as we continue to face pay inequality (especially in "women's work"...which hasn't always been women's work), gaps in medical knowledge, unpaid labor, and sexual harassment and assault.

The list could go on for marginalized groups based on race, class, sexuality, disability, and more.

I am despairing as the right to vote and equal representation are being eroded, as the right to make personal medical decisions is being revoked, as the rights of those who are not wealthy, white, and straight are considered negotiable.

We've had access to a vaccine for almost a year. A new president for just as long. Neither were quick fixes for our individualism, for our communal sin, for our broken systems. Or the ways we have failed to respond as a compassionate community to a global pandemic.

So 2022 maybe you'll forgive me if I come to you a little jaded. What can one year do in the face of all that?

...Except one year isn't nothing.

So having named my fears, I take a deep breath and invite hope in,

planting the delicate hope seed in the freshly tilled soil of a new year.

The nebulous, fragile, scary thing that is hope.

I hope for new life.

I hope for community for the lonely.

I hope for justice for victims of broken systems.

I hope for the voices of the poor to be heard,

for the voices of laborers, prisoners, and disabled people to be heard

for the voices of queer, nonbinary, and trans people to be heard.

for the voices of people of color to be heard.

I hope, even more, for their voices are not just heard but heeded.

I hope we heed also the groaning cries of creation and move towards an ethic and policy of creation care.

I hope for the distribution of resources, for vaccine equality and an acceptance of "enough" instead of an insistence on "abundance."

My hopes are bigger than you 2022. Are longer than this list.

But may you bring water and sunlight for my hopes,

May you be fertile soil for their roots to take hold,

and for new life to sprout with buds of joy.

May you bring healing to the brokenness that surrounds us.

And nurture in me the strength, wisdom, and compassion to work for change, justice, and hope for all.

With cautious hope in the midst of despair,


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