Stay Alert to Hopeful Signs of Light

“And God said, let there be light, and there was light.” Genesis 1:3

With exception of this year, my family has hosted an annual soup and Winter Solstice party to mark the annual shift that means more light will be coming to our days.

We need light now, right? Light at the end of the tunnel. Light to guide our way. Light to warm our tired souls.

Many of you have expressed how tired you are. Light has long been a symbol of hope, and like the slow shift that follows the shortest day of the year, the change to brighter days can feel quite incremental. Just weeks into the new year, as we roll out vaccinations and swear in fresh leadership for our nation, we must stay the course and stay alert – while continuing to search for signs of hope and goodness.

After all, this past year has been quite a jolt.

Last January, I challenged UMA members to stretch themselves. “Step it up,” I said, “and find ways to innovate, partner and serve more.” Well, you have. With tremendous grit amidst a global pandemic and social unrest, UMA ministry leaders have extended themselves in many positive ways and in ways we never would have wished for you. You have reached past your reserves to continue. For 2021, I ask you to hold on to hope, and look for the light in each moment of each day.

Wayne Muller, author of Sabbath and A Life of Being, Having and Doing Enough says, “If we look deeply and carefully within all that is hurtful, ignorant and wounded, we will eventually see the light of the world shine through.”

This is the work we must continue to keep faith. So, too, our work includes taking time to grieve for our losses. We encourage you to visit our COVID Remembrance Wall to share your stories.

“Shine the lights in the darkness to remember all those whom we’ve lost,” prayed Cardinal Wilton Gregory, archbishop of Washington, as more than 400 luminaries shone this week on the Capital Reflecting Pool to honor lives lost to COVID-19.

“Chop wood and carry water,” is a Zen proverb often expressed Larry Minnix, D.Min., former CEO of LeadingAge and author of Hallowed Ground: Stories of Successful Aging.

I hear in these words that we must not only stay mindful in our efforts, but trust that it is meaningful work that is making a slow and steady difference in our world. Our hard work continues unabated. Our missions are grounded in hope and faith and anchored by our collective resilience.

I encourage you to be patient and stay alert for the growing light that sustains us.

Mary Kemper
Mary Kemper
President and CEO