My prayer journal is one of the treats I buy myself each December – or early January if the busyness of Happy HallThanksMas makes me forget a new year is on the horizon. Each journal has a theme, each month a focus that connects to it. This year’s theme is Imagine This
January’s focus was Imagine This . . . A New Beginning (image – Lunar Power by Flo Christiano). I’d finally finished the book for church so I was excited to see what 2020 would hold, what to imagine as I got back to finishing writing my novel, to working on new projects. It was definitely going to be a new beginning!
Then COVID-19 hit.
In March I began to wonder if the monthly focus was for me, or for the world. Funny how a pandemic can take one out of oneself. March’s focus was Imagine This . . . Kindness. As I wrote on the daily lines, the magnitude of all the kindness the world was showing became evident: teachers going out of their way for their students; doctors, nurses, and first-responders traveling to hot spots and working overtime; companies like A & P Technology Inc. revamping their machines to produce PPEs instead of their usual products; restaurants and grocery stores adapting to provide for their customers; and the new cottage industry of mask-making. Above all, neighbors reaching out to each other.
In April, Imagine This . . . A More Beautiful World. And we saw it! The air was cleaner, the skies bluer. I was continually in awe at what seemed like endless sky – in a different way than it usually looked. Even the birds and insects seemed to notice something was different. Our world was beautiful.
May arrived, Imagine This . . . A Joyful World, and we had to work a bit to create the joy in celebrating graduations without ceremonies. And we did. Amid all the grief and sorrow as numbers of COVID cases and deaths rose, schools and parents – and the students themselves – found ways to honor the graduating class of 2020. I think virtual choirs and bands, and lip-syncing educators will be here for a long time.
But on May 25th, the murder of George Floyd overshadowed that joy and was the catalyst for the unrest that continues today. My grandson is a Person of Color so this hits home. He is one of the sweetest little boys, as many 4 years-olds are. He’s already aware his skin is brown, while ours is white, and his parents have laid the foundation for ‘the talk.’ Even writing this I’m getting teary because it hurts. I’ll never know the Black experience, but this inequality is real. June, Imagine This . . . A Song for the World. (image – Courage by Angela Chostner) The pandemic connected all of humanity in a way not much of anything else could, except maybe war. It didn’t matter who had the most cases, who was on the cusp of discovering a vaccine – we were in this together. The Song of the World came in July. I’m not talking Hamilton, though that was great and the parodies were pretty creative.
July, Imagine This . . . Inclusion. If you missed Eric Whitacre’s, Sing Gently, it is balm for a weary heart. How many of us don’t have a case of that at least periodically these days? He gathered 17,572 singers from 129 countries for this plea for the world.
In August it was Imagine This . . . The Soul of the World. We’re still in this pandemic and unrest. Schools are back in session, we’re adjusting – sort of – but I wonder if maybe we’re searching for this soul.
I don’t know what your belief of creation is – Big bang? Seven biblical days? Evolution? But whatever it is, I imagine the beginning of our world wasn’t serene and quiet. How could it be with ocean tides crashing and hurricanes swirling as water separated from land? Can you imagine the grinding and crunching as tectonic plates slid past each other? And the thunder and rumble as mountains grew?! Or the rush of rivers as they wore away land to form those canyons? Then you add all those animals that stomp, trumpet, slither, squawk, flap, chitter, splash, and sing. Nope, not quiet at all.
Creative energy is, well, energetic, even if writers and artists create in the quiet of their own office or studio. Many create to background music, and it’s often not really quiet in our heads. Creativity is messy – ask any non-creative spouse of a creative.
So maybe this unrest, these protests, this loud and messy time we’re in is the creation of a new beginning.
Tomorrow we begin a new month, a new focus. The next several months have not played out, so they feel a bit like the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come – is the course already set? Or can it be altered by our behavior? September is Imagine This . . . A World Free of Hunger and Fear. October is Imagine This . . . Letting Go. November, Imagine This . . . That All Are Good Neighbors.
As the year evolved and I watched the monthly focus in my journal, I had the odd and eerie feeling that whoever designed this book – probably two years ago – had some premonition or gut-feeling this is what we’d need in 2020. So of course I peeked ahead to December.
Imagine This . . . Peace. (image – Sacred Bond by James Neafsey)
May it be so.