A Note on Resilience: The Inauguration Gives a Prescription for 2021

By: Camille Davis

The U.S. Capitol during Inauguration week. Photo courtesy of Stephanie Keith/Getty Images.

Last week, as we watched the presidential inauguration, we were reminded of the power of resilience. The audacity to have a celebration within the very venue that was a place of insurrection and trauma only two weeks before is an accomplishment that only stubborn optimism, exceptional planning, and grace from Providence could have brought to fruition.

As I watched, I felt a sense of joy about the hope and possibility that this transition of power symbolized. However, I must admit that it took a while for me to relish what lay before me. After all, the many pronounced challenges of 2020 are still a part of our reality, and the sad events of January 6th were a strong reminder that the turn of a calendar is no magic antidote for change. So, as I initially beheld the inauguration ceremony, I braced myself for some hiccup or tragedy to ruin the happiness and grandeur of the moment. As the day went on, I began to relax, and as we all know, the festivities celebrating our peaceful transition of presidential power went according to plan.

The success of the inauguration reminded me that it is ok to begin expecting “the good” while living in the realities of the “not so good.” Dear Reader, may I remind you that “the good” is coming?

Of all the lessons that 2020 taught us, one of the most important is to savor (i.e. intentionally and continuously appreciate) what is good. Sometimes, the only way to do this is by first tasting a little or a lot of life’s bitterness.

Think about this in terms of last Wednesday’s activities. Didn’t seeing current and former elected leaders and their families embrace one another take on a significance that it has never had before? Didn’t the last 10 months of restrictions regarding physical touch and human interaction make something as simple as a hug feel like a treasured component of the human experience? Is this not a privilege that we overlooked through the lens of our pre-Covid lives?

Former First Lady Michelle Obama hugs Finnegan Biden, President Biden’s granddaughter on Inauguration Day. Photo courtesy of Caroline Brehman/Getty Images.

What about the time during the motorcade parade in which the President and Vice President got out of their armed, chauffeured vehicles and walked the streets of Washington D.C. with their families? After the siege of the Capitol earlier this month, who knew that the streets of Washington would — or could — be safe enough for the first and second families to confidently stroll? Also, was it not a joy to behold their bespoken sartorial choices after a year in which pajamas and “sweats” have been the protagonists of most of our Covid-wardrobe narratives?

The President, First Lady, and their family on Inauguration Day. Photo courtesy of VOA News.
The Vice President, the Second Gentleman, and their family on Inauguration Day. Photo courtesy of Getty Images and CNN.

What of National Youth Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman’s instruction that “Justice is not what Just is”? Did that not ring a special chord of truth as we still fight the centuries long battle for racial justice in our country?

National Youth Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman was the youngest poet to perform at any U.S. presidential inauguration ceremony. She is 22 years old. Photo courtesy of the Toronto Star.

Think of President Biden being sworn in at age 78 — after two previous unsuccessful bids for the presidency, the death of his first wife, and the death of two children. What audacity after such tragedy!

President Joseph Biden being sworn in on Inauguration Day. His wife, Dr. Jill Biden holds the bible upon which his left-hand rests, and their children, Ashley and Hunter, stand with them. Photo courtesy of Reuters and VOA News.

And what of the historic nature of Vice President Kamala Harris’ ascent to the Vice Presidency? Does this not give hope to those of us who have been told that leadership is beyond our grasp?

Vice President Kamala Harris being sworn in on Inauguration Day. Her husband, Mr. Doug Emhoff, holds the bible upon which her left-hand rests. President Biden stands behind her. Photo Courtesy of ABC News.

The list goes on and on, but you get the point. Life always has its problems and challenges, but the struggles help us to appreciate the good that we have and to hope, expect, prepare, and enjoy the good that is on the way.

Dear Reader — Good is coming, and good is here. Enjoy it. Savor it. Have no fear!

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