I can’t believe that I have been around long enough to have now lived through two historic impeachment proceedings. I even covered one as a journalist!
I’ve also lived through the time when a career in politics was once considered the most noblest of callings. I grew up in a family that thought holding public office was the greatest thing you could do to honor your family and your country.
It was right up there with becoming a priest or a nun. How the world has changed, as has our view of those careers. (OK, well maybe not becoming a nun. Being a nun is still right up there in a class by itself, in my mind. That’s in large part because I was educated by the nuns and am still in awe of the work they do in our cities and neighborhoods. But I digress...)
What happened this week in front of our very eyes will now be studied, taught, and debated for weeks, months, and years to come. I’m not sure it will make any real difference to those who support this president, nor to those who oppose him, other than to maybe make both sides dig their heels in even further.
My kids asked me Wednesday night, “If he’s not thrown out of office, then what was the point of all this?”
I know many people are asking the same thing.
I told them the point is that our system worked and that the President was held accountable, regardless of what he thought.
I told them that when we make mistakes in life be it in our families, our jobs, or in our politics, we can each be held accountable in a myriad of ways. Sometimes we may get fired. Sometimes we may get a time out. Sometimes we apologize and all is forgiven. Every instance is unique, as is this national moment of reckoning.
So, while there has been no dramatic resignation, like what happened with President Nixon, no big apology like we saw from President Clinton—the impeachment process unfolded as our Founding Fathers intended it to, and it will continue to unfold. The ultimate reckoning won't lie with this President or even this Congress, but will lie with we the people and it will happen in November.
But first, we have Christmas. So breathe. It’s almost here. Then, after Christmas, we will all (God willing) make our way into a new year and an extraordinary new decade.
So, what do I hope for you? My hope for you is that the news of the day doesn’t totally distract you from this season. I hope you can be present during this time. Be present for yourself and present for those you care about and who care about you. My hope is that you can find some time to rest, to reflect, and to reassess.
My hope for you is that you can cultivate moments of joy. Or, as my friend John Bridgeland writes in this week’s paper, “I hope you can embrace silliness.” Read that word carefully because the first time my friend wrote it to me, I read stillness. Then when I went back to read it properly, my spirit shifted. We are going to have more on silliness as a spiritual practice in the new year, but my hope is that you slowly allow some of it into your life now.
My hope for you is that you also feel loved during this season. And if you are alone or not in a romantic relationship, I want you to know that I’m talking to you too. You deserve to feel loved, and love comes in so many forms. Don’t negate the love that is around you simply because it’s not the stuff of a romantic poem, movie, or book. Love is everywhere, so keep your eyes open, keep your heart open, and keep your mind open.
My hope is that you also allow yourself to be surprised these next few weeks. That you give yourself a wow, an OMG, a “I can’t believe that just happened” moment.
And my hope is that if you need to leave some things behind in this decade, that you muster up the courage to do so. Let’s not bring things or people or memories forward that weigh us down. I know that’s easier said than done, but it’s worth trying to do.
Finally, my hope is that you can rest in the magnificence of your own being. Spend some time reflecting on your magnificent self. Allow the awe of that reality to sink in, because if you could see the light within you, you would be awed. You would be amazed. You would take your own breath away. Think about that. Seriously, take your own breath away.
You see, my hopes for you are the hopes I also have for me. To live a joy-filled life, a meaningful life, a love-filled life. It is your divine right and mine. You are a miracle, and if you keep yourself open—if you are brave enough to slow yourself down—you are sure to bear witness to miracles both big and small. Moments of grace that will indeed make you stop and marvel.
I hope you do what I do on Christmas Eve. After mass and a family gathering at the dinner table, I hope you watch “It’s a Wonderful Life.” Every time I do, I cry. Because life is indeed a wonder, and it’s our chance to make it wonder-filled.
So, God bless you and yours. Merry, merry Christmas. We will see you right back here in the new year. In the meantime, I’ll be thinking about you and praying that this is your best holiday season ever! Amen to that!
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