One of the most powerful things I have experienced in the past month was a video I came across of the One Voice Children’s Choir (a nonprofit with a mission to “inspire the world through the power of children's voices”), singing Maroon Five’s song “Memories.” I encourage you to give yourself the gift of these 3.5 minutes of beauty and wonder in technological creativity while connecting the song’s lyrics to all of our current realities. Adam Levine, the lead singer for Maroon Five, explained, “The song is for anyone who has ever experienced loss. In other words, this song is for all of us.”
This year of 2020 has been characterized by loss—of routines, traditions, cherished moments with loved ones, independence, freedom, and especially the foundation of stability and safety that existed in our world before the arrival of COVID-19. Alongside the fears and fragility of this medical crisis, we have experienced the continued erosion of our American collective due to extreme political and cultural divisiveness, and a long overdue awareness and reckoning of racial and social injustices.
Throughout this year, I have felt and heard others express how eager we are to return to “normal.” For me, these yearnings reflect my desire to once again start each day with the joy and connection of Morning Meeting; of being able to high five, shake a hand, and hug; to laugh wholeheartedly; to travel to see friends and family. As I have lamented the impacts of COVID on my life, I have also been very conscious of the privilege through which I have experienced these losses. For many people in our country and world, feelings of safety, security, freedom, and access didn’t exist in their pre-COVID reality and will likely remain elusive post-COVID. As I yearn for “normal,” I am also inspired by the opportunities and urgency to map out a more kind, just, and healthy “normal” ahead, informed by lessons laid bare by COVID. I have been especially moved by the words of activist and artist, Sonya Renee Taylor: “We will not go back to normal. Normal never was. Our pre-corona existence was not normal, other than we normalized greed, inequity, exhaustion, depletion, extraction, disconnection, confusion, rage, hoarding, hate, and lack. We should not long to return, my friends. We are being given the opportunity to stitch a new garment, one that fits all of humanity and nature.”
As we approach the end of a year that will forever be etched in our memories as not only a destabilizing force but also an opportunity to embrace what matters most for us as individuals and as a country, I wish you all the happiest of holidays. Let us all look forward to a 2021 full of new memories and the strength to live out Bosque’s mission through a “compassionate contribution to a more just world.”
Each of you will forever be woven into the fabric of my memories of 2020—memories of joy and loss and, most importantly, the resilience of being part of a community that has navigated unprecedented challenges with grace, patience, and determination.