Today marks six months since I began writing tips for these days. What a wild six months it’s been. Thank you for reading these words.
September 8, 2020
You need more nourishment than you think. Labor Day crept up on me. Usually we travel to Kansas City, but since that wasn’t happening, I just forgot it was a thing. Until last week when Patrick mentioned that he’d have the day off. I figured I’d still get a couple of hours of work in because I could and why not? But as Friday continued, I realized that my work is actually in a good spot; I could afford a long weekend. Maybe it would even be good for me. I could honor my labor by enjoying my rest. Our weekends are usually pretty relaxed at Thornphy Manor. There is reading and tea, quiet and television, good cooking and maybe a walk. Definitely a nap. We run errands and clean the house a bit; sometimes we even do yard work. Truly, we are fortunate. But yesterday was pure gift. The cooler weather inspired coziness. It was a bonus day of morning reading and tea. I made puff pastry and picked up a quilt that has been waiting for precisely this weather. Perhaps we spent more time watching television than we should have, but who’s keeping track? We also ate good food, nourishing food, fall food. I didn’t realize how much I needed that extra day of rest. Today I have felt restored and refreshed. My life isn’t hard, I know. But we’re all doing some heavy lifting these days. Certainly mentally and emotionally, if not physically—though, I would argue, quarantine takes a physical toll. We need more nourishment, more sustenance than we think. This pandemic, these politics, this day and age—it drains and exhausts and maddens. While our normal coping mechanisms can work quite well, they are also working overtime. We are like sponges, soaking up all the stress and insanity of these days. Remember to wring it out, to find the good and caring and loving and healthy to soak up too. You will feel so much better for it.
September 9, 2020
Hold and be held. When Ryan died, Patrick was the one who told me. He drove to my work, but I wasn’t in my office because I was across campus at a meeting. He found a coworker friend and told her. Together, they came to get me and tell me some of the worst news I could be told. Again. It had happened again. Another suicide. Another uncle. Another grief. I collapsed onto the floor. They knelt with me. They held me. After a while, they bundled me off the floor and into the car and back to home. I hate that that moment exists in their lives. I am so grateful their holding exists in mine. This holding was very literal; it isn’t always so. When we talk about praying for or thinking of someone who is struggling, we often say we “hold them in prayer” or “hold them in our thoughts.” There is a tenderness with this holding, an intimacy. For the one being held, it involves vulnerability, trust, hope. Being held means you can share what burdens you. Maybe you don’t express precisely what needs to be held, but you let others know the holding is needed. Being held is grace. For the one who holds, it is holy work. It involves compassion, selflessness, attention. Holding means you grant space and energy to what burdens another. You honor the story, honor the struggle. You do not fix it, because often you can’t. But you give it room, let what needs to be held breathe a bit, let the one burdened unfurl into shared burden. Holding is grace. Our holding and being held are heightened this year. That happens in grieving times. This is a grieving time. Let yourself be held. Give thanks for the holders. Let yourself hold others. Give thanks for the ability to hold. This space of being held and holding is sacred. Challenging, but sacred.
September 10, 2020
Release. Of course, thinking about holding leads to thinking about letting go. I am not a “Let go and let God” person. That is another platitude to which I say, “Bullshit.” Even if you believe that we are created by God, which I do, then you recognize that we, as humans created in God’s image and likeness, have agency. We are able to act. Letting go and letting God removes our agency. It removes our ability to do and think. It is a resignation. A throwing up of our hands and denying responsibility. That is not why we were created. And that is not the release I mean. As 2020 continues its march, we are reminded over and over again of what is essential: people, health, justice, earth. We are looking at those around us with fresh eyes, understanding who they are and who we are in relationship with them. We are considering what it means to be healthy and to give care to those who need it. We are reckoning with justice and what a lack of it has done to our communities, to the bodies and spirits of people of color, to the hearts and minds of white people. We are seeing a ravaged earth: floods and fires that seem biblical, apocalyptic, terrifying. Our attention is being brought to what matters. Women often talk about the freedom that arrives when they grow older. Each decade involves a letting go of caring what others think, of trying to fit a certain jean size, of bending oneself to meet expectations that curtail us. You know these women. They might have wild hair; their eyes sparkle; their clothes flow. They are comfortable in their bodies and free with laughter and curse words. They do what makes their spirits sing, and they listen to the Spirit to move them. I want to be these women. As this year strips away so much, it is also an invitation to let go of what we don’t need to carry anymore: unrealistic expectations, guilt, shame. Maybe even fear. If we let go of these things, what might we be able to carry? Or, perhaps, where might we fly?
September 11, 2020
Attend to what you remember. I was a senior in high school on September 11, 2001. I didn’t know what the Twin Towers were. (New York has never been high on my list of places to visit or know much about. It just seems too big and overwhelming.) I didn’t get it. Cell phones weren’t nearly as prevalent as they are now, and the ones we had weren’t smart; none of us had laptops connected to wifi. The information we received was patchy. The school administration tried to keep us away from televisions. Our Spanish teacher, who was on the North Campus, across the street from the main building, turned on the television when we got to class because she thought we needed to see what was happening. We did. It was bad. So much changed on September 11, 2001. We became a nation afraid. We became protective, nativist, isolationist. Not always and not everyone. But when you consider what 9/11 did to our psyches, Trump makes a lot of sense as a response. People often speak of 9/11 with reverence. I understand. The death and destruction were overwhelming: New York, a field in Pennsylvania, the Pentagon. The fallout has been overwhelming too: lives lost in wars and continued conflict, the health problems that plague first responders and those who were at the crash sites, the mental and emotional trauma that persists. But there is a very dark side to 9/11 that I think frames the narrative of this national holy day. It is one of racism, fear, American exceptionalism, and posturing. When we “remember” on 9/11, so often we cloak ourselves in the flag and think of the destruction that took place on American soil. We remember American lives lost, and we grieve them, as we should. But that is not all today represents. We are facing our demons in 2020, and maybe we need to face the ones created and augmented on September 11, 2001. Did we become afraid of Muslims? Do we assume all Middle Easterners are out to get us? Have we grown complacent about the wars being waged in the name of “freedom” and “democracy,” ignoring the fact that we’ve moved the place of terror from US soil to Afghan and Iraqi soil? Is it possible for us to take responsibility for how other countries view us rather than assuming they’re just not good enough? Are we open to learning from rather than shutting down what can be offered from the Other? Can we honor those who died while also standing firmly against the ugliness that came forward as a response to tragedy? Is it possible to bring peace and forgiveness to this day, to this remembering? September 11 created a gaping wound in the American landscape. We need to heal it. We won’t do so through patriotism. We’ll do so by looking at all the facets of this tragedy and reckoning with who we have become as a result of it.
September 15, 2020
Look closely. Hanging on the wall above my desk, off to the side, is my mom’s old darkroom easel. Back in the day, the easel was the thing that held the paper under the enlarger lens. The light from the enlarger exposed the paper and, by putting the paper through various chemicals, the image would emerge. This easel, on the side that I have facing out, has two size options: 2×3 inches and 3×4.5 inches. In Bird by Bird, Anne Lamott talks about having a one-inch frame on her desk. There’s nothing in the frame: no picture or little quote. It’s empty. It sits there to remind her to focus in, to get close. She uses it to inspire detail in her writing. I don’t have a one-inch frame. I have mom’s easel. It serves a similar purpose, but it does more than that. It reminds me of what creation is. Mom had a darkroom for most of my growing-up years. It was sacred space. I’d often join her while she developed film or made prints. I’d rock the trays with chemicals once she’d put the exposed paper in. I’d never, ever enter or leave without letting her know, lest a stray beam of light sneak in and ruin a print or box of paper. I learned about Bruce Springsteen, Bob Seeger, Les Miserables, and Melissa Etheridge in the darkroom. We talked about my dad and her siblings. Sharing that space with her, I now know, was thin space: I got to see her create. Photographers see the world in images. I see it in words. Yes, I see the images, but I am often working out how to describe it, how it affects me, what it means in language. My mom doesn’t do that as much. She sees the light, the numbers, the relationships between objects. She’s framing images constantly. It’s a very different way to interact with the world. In some ways, I think it’s more intimate. It breaks things down. Even someone like Ansel Adams: I have no doubt that he was very aware of how every element in a sweeping landscape worked together. I digress. The darkroom was where mom’s work went from her head to the world. It’s where I was able to see what she saw. And she sees things closely. Murphys are detail oriented; we express it in different ways, but we each attend to the little things that make a difference. Our world is overwhelmingly big these days. The problems are significant and scary. We waffle between hopefulness and despair a lot. This is going to continue, at least for a few more weeks. God willing, it’ll settle down on January 20, 2021. But for now, things feel big. That’s when looking closely helps. I can’t solve climate change; I can be aware of my own consumption. I can’t fix racism; I can root it out of my head and heart and speak out when I see injustice. I can’t fix this virus; I can wash my hands and wear a mask. I can’t fix Donald Trump and the poison he has unleashed; I can vote and counteract his poison with goodness in the face of hatred. Look closely at what you’re developing. This is a creation time; it is thin space. We don’t have to create on a giant canvas. It can be enough to fill a 2×3-inch frame.
September 16, 2020
Show up. This tip has three parts. First, we need to be showing up for ourselves. The self-care and wellness industry like to say how this should look: bubble baths, gorgeous yoga sessions, painted nails, all the fancy coffee drinks, so much pampering. Those things might work for you. But showing up for ourselves also means doing the work. Even though my personal writing has been whiny of late, I keep showing up every morning to put pen to paper. Eventually something good will come of it. Or not. But I’m showing up because if I’m whiny there, I’m less inclined to be whiny to Patrick or my friends. I’m showing up there because I know it’s developing muscles that need developing: self-reflection, challenge, critiquing the world, self-kindness, and, at the most basic level, language play. Giving up on the writing time would be a way of giving up on myself, on a part of myself that I have come to love very much. I have to show up for that. Second, we need to show up for each other. We can’t be all things to all people. I would love to go out of my way for everyone, to call all the people on my list, to drop off cookies or love notes. I can’t. I’m an introvert and the idea of that makes me want to curl up in a ball and sleep for hours. But I can show up for a few people. I can text when someone crosses my mind. I can try, when people are struggling, to reach out. Showing up for others means putting your energy where you know it’s needed. Right now it’s needed in a lot of places, so it also means being aware of your energy, what’s zapping it, what’s restoring it, and what’s wasting it. It’s possible you’ll need to put up boundaries; it’s also possible you need to take some boundaries down. Third, notice who’s showing up for you. Acknowledge it. One of the things my family has marveled at over the years is how the people you expect to show up in a moment of crisis aren’t necessarily the ones who do. Maybe they just want you to be okay, better, how you were. They’re too close to see what’s truly needed. It’s heartbreaking when this happens and piles grief upon grief. But then there’s that random person who comes out from the periphery to give you precisely what you need when you need it. That showing up is a breath of fresh air, a lifeline, a grace. We are, this year, showing up in all these ways; and others are meeting us in this showing. These spaces of encounter are creating something new, something healing. We just have to be present to it.
September 17, 2020
Mind the gap. There’s a part in To Kill a Mockingbird where Atticus Finch explains to his daughter, Scout, that understanding others requires going outside of oneself. “You never really understand a person,” Atticus says, “until you consider things from his point of view—until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it.” We often hear this stated as “walking in someone else’s shoes.” I think one of the difficulties in conversations about race is that we can never know what it’s truly like to wear someone else’s skin. I don’t know what it’s like to be a Black or Brown person. I don’t know what it’s like to be Asian or Native American or Hispanic. I don’t get looked at suspiciously when I’m shopping, and I’ve been pulled over once for speeding. My car tags are expired. I keep forgetting that. I’ve been driving with expired tags since May. I’ve driven past cops. Not once have I been stopped. (Yes, mom, I’ll get this dealt with.) I don’t even think about it because I’m not driving a lot, and I don’t have to think about it because my skin color protects me. This is privilege. A few weeks ago I ordered a Black Lives Matter sweatshirt. It took a while to get here, but it’s here, and I love it. Today was cool enough to wear it, and I ran errands. I was very aware, as I traveled about my reddish town, that I was wearing what would be considered by some to be a provocative sweatshirt. I expected comments. I expected looks. I got nothing. Proud as I am of this sweatshirt, much as I support Black Lives Matter and believe that Black lives do, indeed, matter, I was self-conscious. And in that self-consciousness, awareness of my privilege rose. I get to take this sweatshirt off. It’s not my skin; it’s a thing I’m wearing. And for about an hour today I considered how people might respond to a thing I wore. I’m not stupid enough to think this gives me even a shred of the experience of walking through this country with Black skin. It doesn’t. If anything, it alerted me to how very little I know about other people’s experiences in their skin. We need to stretch our consideration muscles, to think about what it might be like to be another person with different experiences and traumas, joys and passions. This is empathy. But we also need to see that there’s a gap between how we do that considering and what the reality is. There is space between our thinking and our being. For some of us, that space is where we acknowledge our privilege, where we allow humility into our relationships. For others, that gap is a chasm filled with fear and prejudice. Nudging ourselves into that gap, seeing if we feel fear or humility, allowing it to grow our awareness instead of shrinking it—this is the hard work we are called to right now.
September 18, 2020
Admire your friends. In recent years, we’ve focused a lot on ruptured relationships. People support politicians we find unsupportable. They back policies we find morally repugnant. We approach family and friends, not to mention strangers, with wariness. We are renegotiating boundaries. There is much to grieve about the relationships that have fallen apart or become strained. But I think that has also opened space for new relationships and admirations. Over the years I have seen friends and acquaintances from high school blossom into incredible women. That sounds so cliche and saccharine, I know. But I am in awe of the way they work for justice, speak their truths, protest, advocate for issues dear to them, step into the fray, raise their kids to be good humans, and live joyously. It’s not easy, I know, and they don’t make it look easy. They make it look doable. And that’s encouraging. I am also amazed by my friends who are teachers these days. So much has been heaped on their plates. And rather than scrape them off into the trash or just drop the damn things on the floor, these friends have taken the time to assess the situation, grapple with what’s going on, and create a (flexible) plan for moving forward. They are struggling, but they are doing. I am in awe. We can become complacent about the people we surround ourselves with. They are just part of the woodwork. It’s good to step back every so often and look at your friends anew, to see who they are in their own right, not just in your own eyes. See the work they’re doing, the people they’re trying to become, and be amazed by that process. People—even the ones near and dear to us—are truly amazing.
September 19, 2020
Attend to the flame. I have seen so much despair since the announcement of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death last night. I’ve felt some of it too. This is not good. Trump will rush a nomination. McConnell will ram it through the Senate. I don’t deny that this is bad. But here’s what else I know: McConnell, Trump, and their enablers are vampires who feed on our despair, fear, and hopelessness. Let’s starve them by joyously celebrating the legacy of an incredible woman. Let’s deny them the meal they so desperately want by committing ourselves to continue her fights. Do not let this moment be about these men. Let this be about a woman of strength, integrity, and justice. Yes, we need to keep our eyes on the shenanigans these guys are going to play. I get that. But by focusing on how shitty they are, we’re losing sight of Justice Ginsburg’s legacy and what she gave to us. A friend shared that her “hope is a guttering flame.” I understand that. We all have moments when our lights flicker. So know this, if your light is not as strong as it usually is, that’s okay. Others are holding the flames. When your flame is steady again, you can hold it for someone else. That’s how we do this. Take this literally: Light a candle. Watch the flame. See it flicker and steady. Over and over again. Take heart. As I said to this friend, if you can’t see the flame inside yourself, look for it outside until you find it again. Revel in the life of a good woman. She deserves that.
September 21, 2020
Consider the waffling. When I was in high school, we analyzed a poem by Thomas Lux called “Refrigerator, 1957.” It has since been one of my favorite poems. I love the vividness of it. I love the challenge of it. The poem’s narrator speaks about a jar of maraschino cherries kept in the fridge but never used. He muses about these cherries, the brightest and most enticing thing in the refrigerator. No one eats them; they’re never used. But the jar is always there. The narrator contemplates why he never ate one, and at the end of the poem, he admits, “because you do not eat that which rips your heart with joy.” I struggle with that line, with that mentality. And yet, I understand it. Can reality ever be as good as the ideal we construct? He knew the sweetness of those cherries without eating them; they couldn’t ever match his imagination. This morning I did the new yoga class offered by Clara. To start, she recites a poem by John O’Donohue, “A Morning Offering.” It’s a prayer of awakening and arising. It is a call to embrace the new day and be awed by it. He concludes this way: “May I have the courage today to live the life that I would love, to postpone my dream no longer but do at last what I came here for and waste my heart on fear no more.” That has become, in many ways, my prayer this year. It just wasn’t quite articulated until I heard these lines. Or, rather, it was articulated by Mary Oliver from her poem “The Summer Day”: “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” Truth to tell, I waffle between these poems. The life I want as a writer seems so glorious, so lovely, so unattainable. And yet, I work to create it daily. It is, at once, the maraschino cherry that could rip my heart with joy—best avoided because not perfect—and the thing I came here for, the life I love. We, women particularly, receive so many messages about how to lean in! Create the life you want! Boss bitch! Do it all! Do only what matters to you! But, truth to tell, we’re all wavering between avoiding ripping our hearts with joy by doing what we love and, well, doing what we love. It isn’t necessarily one or the other. Maybe it depends on the day. Maybe it depends on whether we can get that jar of cherries opened in the first place.
September 22, 2020
Look up. I look down a lot. There are dog toys and shoes and things about. Outside, there are sticks, more dog toys, and puppy-dug holes. All sorts of things can trip one up. Add to this the natural position of hunching over a phone or laptop or notebook. But as summer turns to fall, I am reminded of the importance of looking up. I seem to have come full circle over the years. I left Kansas City loving autumn; it was my favorite season. When I moved to Minnesota, fall meant that winter was close behind, which meant months of snow and cold. Spring became my favorite season. But I have returned to loving fall. It reminds me to slow down, to relish the green of summer, to give thanks for what has been and what will be. I love the warming foods of fall, the comfort of a hot cup of tea, wooly socks that warm the toes. I love the crisp smell of the air as the temperatures cool. As I’ve waited for the trees to change colors, I’ve been looking up a lot. Looking out. Rather than run up the stairs and past the window on the landing, I pause for a second to take in the gloriousness that is the orange tree in a neighbor’s yard. I’m keeping an eye on the heart-shaped tree down the street that always turns a stunning shade of red. I’m watching the shades of blue in the sky, hazy from wildfire smoke aloft. I’m noticing that the sun has shifted position, and the light hits my desk differently now than it did just a few weeks ago. The lushness of summer is giving way to the sparseness of winter, but we’re given these weeks of transition, of moving through the letting go. Sometimes change is instant, and maybe it’s having experienced such abrupt and breathtaking shifts that has made me more aware of the grace in slow change. We have become used to instant gratification: I want this, so I order it, and it’s here the next day; I have a question, so I pull out my phone, and the answer is found immediately. We don’t always sit comfortably in the waiting time. Autumn reminds us to sit still and see the beauty in slow transformation, in prolonged gratification.
September 23, 2020
Attempt compassionate gazing. I failed at this today. I’ve been failing at this a lot of days when I leave our house. People are just so trying right now. It was my last stop. I’d been to the co-op, Costco, another store to grab lunch, and was just getting a Sprite at the gas station. An older man walked in without a mask. He cut in front of me in line. Okay, we were both walking up to the line and he got there first. (See, failing.) He was mouth breathing. And obviously couldn’t see very well. He got very close, with all his mouth-breathing breathiness, to the credit card thing. All the breathing on all the things! I scowled. I grumbled. I rolled my eyes. Perhaps I huffed. I paid for my Sprite once he left (with the exact change because I sure wasn’t going to touch that keypad). And I murmured my way to my car and home and away from people. Ugh. People. When I was in college one of the Benedictine sisters told me about compassionate gazing. What I recall of her explanation is that it’s to see with kindness, to look at others gently. I look at others with a great deal of wariness right now. Maybe sometimes with open hostility. Why are you getting so close? Do you know that your nose is supposed to go inside the mask? Are you aware that your bandana is not helpful? Can you just stop touching everything? No, taking your mask down to talk to the clerk is not helpful! None of this is compassionate. All of it is based in judgment. And part of me thinks that’s just fine for this day and age. Except that’s not true. Habits of thought build, and if I’m allowing wariness and hostility into my thoughts, there’s no way that doesn’t make an impact. Benedictines have two things to offer when it comes to compassionate gazing. First, they are big on hospitality. In his Rule, St. Benedict says that we are to welcome the stranger as Christ. We are to open the door to others, not close it. We feed, clothe, shelter, welcome. Hospitality looks different these days. It is no longer about opening our homes for dinner parties. We’re less inclined to interact with strangers. Dropping by for a beer or a cup of tea isn’t the easy delight it used to be. Second, Benedict was quite emphatic about the dangers of murmuring: when community members murmur, it leads to a toxic communal life. We are murmuring a lot about people: how they act, what politicians they support, how they’re failing. Maybe what’s needed is compassionate looking. Instead of murmuring, maybe we extend the hospitality of gentleness and compassion. Instead of huffing, maybe we keep our distance while considering all the factors that might be at play in a person’s noncompliance. Not just stubbornness but illness, loneliness, plain ignorance. I can’t guarantee I’ll do much better next time I’m in public. But maybe writing about it will allow compassionate gazing to come to mind before I start the grumbling instead of after.
September 24, 2020
Behold the waves. I grew up in Kansas City. I live in Minnesota. My experiences with oceans are limited. I am awed by them, though. Standing on the shore as waves roll in, watching the way the sand moves and adjusts, seeing what’s left behind as the water rolls back out. Waves are relentless. Last year when we went to Ireland, we stopped at a place where the Atlantic waves were overwhelming. Big. Crashing. They were intimidating and all-consuming. It made me wonder why people would ever get in boats and fish. The water roiled. I was both drawn to and horrified by these waves. I have not read a lot about the Breonna Taylor decision. I know that they’re charging an officer for endangering neighbors. Taylor is not receiving justice. I am mad. I am tired of the injustice. I am tired for my Black friends who are exhausted. I am ready for this shit to end. I am reminded of waves. This year feels like we’re standing in the midst of an unrelenting barrage of waves. Over and over again the current is trying to pull us under. But there are other waves too, and those are the ones we need to see right now. I looked at the news before bed, something I try not to do much of. But the Guardian had a live feed of protests that were happening across this nation in honor of Taylor. People standing up to say that this is not right. This is exhausting. This is not acceptable. They were chanting her name. This too is a wave. These protests are waves that are as unrelenting as Trump’s attempted attacks on democracy, decency, and humanity. It’s tempting to look only at the waves that destroy or exhaust. But there are other waves here too: we’re seeing people take to the streets in droves to protest; voter registration efforts are booming; there are lines for early voting; Democrats raised huge amounts of money after Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death; women continue to speak out against harassment, assault, rape, even when they know they will be ostracized or worse; white people who have coasted through life believing we aren’t racist are seeing ways we prop up racist systems, and we’re educating ourselves to change that; businesses and sports teams are taking stances against racism, voter suppression, and police brutality. The tide does turn. For every wave of horror from this administration, there’s another that restores my hope in our country, our humanity. Trump isn’t the only one making waves. We are too. And they’re big ones. Behold their power.
September 25, 2020
Keep vigil. Tomorrow marks a milestone for these tips: I wrote the first one six months ago. We’ve been through a lot since then. As I hit this marker, I’m thinking about what these daily writings have been. As the daughter of a photographer, I often lean toward photographic metaphors. These tips are snapshots of what our world has experienced this year: the turmoil, despair, hope, joy, fear, resetting. The tips became my way of remembering, of reflecting, of engaging. They are a wrestling with the world as we know it now; there is blessing here too. They have also been my way of keeping vigil. One of the most beautiful things I know of the Benedictine community I was close to in college is the way they sit with dying sisters. When one of the women is close to death, the other sisters sit with her; they take turns keeping vigil. They accompany her as she journeys from this world to the next. The sisters live in community and die in community. I love this. At the risk of sounding dramatic, our world has been going through a dying process. Maybe it has always been thus. St. Paul expected the Second Coming any day. We still read his letters in church and prayer two thousand years later. The world keeps turning. But in 2020, we are reckoning in new ways with the fact that what was no longer is. The effects of climate change make this very evident. That we had to rethink our ways of being in and moving about the world because of a virus make this very evident. There are times, I admit, when I wonder what the point of being a writer, an artist, is when the end of the world is nigh. If it’s all going to burn, why write it down? The fact that I turned to words in this year of chaos tells me why: because we need vigil keepers. We have been keeping vigil in various ways this year. We are vigilant as we wash hands, wear masks, wipe down surfaces, keep distance. We are vigilant as we keep our eyes on cops who keep killing Black people and getting away with it. We are vigilant as we take to the streets or put up signs or proclaim on social media that justice needs doing. We are vigilant as we research politicians and make decisions about whom we will vote for. We are vigilant as we mourn the losses of giants like John Lewis and Ruth Bader Ginsburg. As tiring as this vigilance can be, it is the way we journey together. It is our being in community. I am so grateful you have let me write for and with you. There will be more. But today I want to honor the vigils we have been keeping. And will continue to keep.