I’ll like to bear witness to 2021. To remain rooted in some way. To all the life we endured. And remind you all to note that we are still here. This year brought me to my knees. Made me wail in ways that I never knew existed. It wasn’t just the death it brought, though that was intense and difficult. It was mostly the pain, and the uncertainty that accompanied periods of pain mixed with despair. But I’m still here. We were battered. We were bruised. We cried out from the depths of our hearts for things completely out of our control. We prayed. I remember screaming out the top of my lungs that what God cannot do does not exist. Yet, there were things or prayers that went unanswered. Times that made me question whether he existed. Surely when his children cry out to him from the depths of their sorrow, he would come to their aid. His own words makes it’s known that whoever and I mean whoever goes to him for safety would say he is our God. We did. We all took turns and went and yes he did his part to keep us and protect us. And though a thousand fell dead around us, one of them was more than enough to make us question whether he remembered us. But, we are still here. And so as I look back on the year that brought so much pain mixed with so much uncertainty coupled with a never ending desire to do more with my time on earth, I am reminded by the words of Langston Hughes paraphrased for me and my family today that, “We are still here.” Langston Hughes and his poetry have been a great source of comfort to me as we close out this year. Of course the word of God is forever at my side, but reading something as eloquent as still being here, made me realize that all of the pain, all of the uncertainty, even all of the struggle with this past year was worth it, because we are still here. So in closing out this chapter, this year, let me also remind you that you are still here and to me that’s more than enough.
You are still here. Still here. You may have struggled. Your lives may have trembled. Beneath waves that crushed. But, you are still here. Still here. You may have been exhausted. The pandemic keeps soaring. Numbers keep rising. Heaviness and burnout on your shoulders. But you are still here. Still here. You may have dreamed dreams. Flung your arms wide as you dreamed dreams that disappeared in the morning. But you are still here. Still here. You may have failed. Your toils may have been excruciating. With a failure that endlessly echo. But you are still here. Still here. You may have sown a seed. On grounds that did not sprout. All you labor may seem useless but you are still here. Still here. You may have been heartbroken. Love may have given up on you. All it’s patience, faith and hope may have failed you. But you are still here. Still here. You may have stopped laughing. You may have passed through life like shadows across the earth with no joy. But you are still here. Still here. You may have grieved. The death of a child, a partner, a loved one. Life in disarray for an end that came too soon, too painful to put to words. But despite this, you are still here. Still here. You may have fallen into despair. Fallen into the darkest and deepest pit. That you were close to death. Yet, you are still here. Still here. You may have even died. All your strength may have been gone. That you felt abandoned like the dead lying in their graves. I want you to know that you are still here. You are and it matters to me. That you keep knowing that you are still here. And for so many others, for you, the light that came to you. This light may have furiously knocked. Furiously insisted to remain. Furiously lighting up everything. Even in the midst of all the darkness around. Thank you for opening the door. Thank you for carrying your light as you showed us all how to still be here despite all the life you endured. Thank you for still being here. And I pray that 2022 will be more than you hoped for. May blessings be with you and may you find success in all you do.