The unprecedented assault on democracy when rioters invaded the Capitol urged on by Trump’s incendiary exhortations, left me so wounded and dispirited I thought we may never close the gap that divides us as a Nation.
Two weeks later the Inauguration of a new President restored my faith. The Inaugural ritual from the opening invocation, speeches, music, and a closing poem that moved me to tears…that’s what rituals and ceremonies do.
I am a strong believer in the healing power of rituals and ceremonies, they are the glue that binds us together in community; they can be transformative mentally and physically, and they are present in all social animals from ants to elephants. From rituals of greeting to those of dying they anchor us in times of celebration and uncertainty. Ritual and ceremony provide the structure that allows for the expression of feelings, they connect us deeply with family and community, and we dramatically underutilize them.
The inauguration was a healing ritual, reminded me that our democracy is still viable. And now we have another opportunity to bask in the glow of yet another. The Super Bowl has become a National celebration, and one that is broadcast to the world. From Stadium parking lot barbecues with people of every color and class sharing food and drink, cheering for the same warriors dressed in combat colors, and are creating heroic legends.
This coming Sunday let us gather in community and continue our healing journey. When we listen again to Amanda Gorman the young, gifted Inaugural poet, close your eyes, reach out your arms and imagine if you can’t actually touch somebody next to you, that we are the light “if only we’re brave enough to see it. If only we are brave enough to be it”.
We heal better in community, and in case any of you are wondering who I’m rooting for, it’s Tom Brady, an aging hero.