Between the Waning Moons of 2008 and the Rising Suns of 2009
With or without a political mandate to add to their impact, changes big and small are ongoing features of what we call our human condition. The selection of President-Elect Barack Obama as the United States of America’s next chief executive officer, and as the country’s first African-African American so honored, is a change that we will be analyzing, scrutinizing, and clarifying for many months and decades to come.
It is a good change at the grand end of the historical continuum because it speaks to so much more than the capacity of one man’s determined drive to serve humanity by respecting a vision that refused to fade from his heart or soul. It speaks, as well, volumes about the men and women who carried the torch of that same vision so many years before the new president-elect was even born.
Consider the labors of those extraordinary founding fathers and mothers who foresaw the need for a constitution capable of absorbing, accommodating, and even fostering all manner of one thing: change. Think of African Americans leaving slavery behind to be counted among their country’s most esteemed war veterans, inventors, business people, educators, creative artists, and leaders. Think of women stepping beyond the kitchen and bedroom to increase the strength of their homeland on battlefields and in corporations and government with their individual and collective courage and genius.
Think of a grandmother named Madelyn Dunham going on to glory just before her grandson ascended on November 4, 2008, to the highest office in one of the most powerful nations on Earth. And then imagine, that as she left this world, with one hand she threw a kiss to that beloved grandson while with the other she handed him a torch that she too had carried for a long meaningful time.
Between the waning moons of 2008 and the rising suns of 2009, many of us will be taking all kinds of inventories in our lives. Some of those inventories will be as commonplace as counting pairs of outworn underwear and making plans to buy replacements for the New Year. Some will involve checking stocks of office supplies or retail items to flush out the old and usher in the new. Other inventories involving very personal questions about such things as convictions, hopes, faith, fears, anger, love, prejudice, and forgiveness–will refuse to go away until provided meaningful responses.
Historians the world over will take a new inventory of the centuries behind us and futurists will contemplate the landscape of those years in front us. Whereas the past is what many might call "a done deal," the future still awaits confirmation. This present hour, however, overflows as richly with healing treasures of triumph, renewed faith, and joyful expectation as any moment humankind has ever known. It stands in the glorious light of its own confirmation and validity, and it shines as brilliantly empowering upon the many as it does upon the few.
The American Poet Who Went Home Again