7:15 Pacific Time. In less than two hours, America will have a new President. My email inbox this morning brings a message from Laurence, a friend in France: “Hello Chris! How do you feel today, Obama’s day: full of hope for this new year? What a long way your country did, in such a small time: this is simply fantastic. This shows the rest of the world how lively, reactive, young and attractive America is. This is a great lesson for everybody.”
Yesterday I took my turn in a round robin email to my husband’s sisters. I realized I couldn’t chatter on about the details of my life without putting them in context of the powerfully hopeful change that is happening. I share part of the letter from yesterday, Martin Luther King day…
“It’s a beautiful sunny day in California. Dennis and I watched Martin Luther King’s ‘I Have a Dream’ speech on television this morning. It’s was moving to see it and anticipate Obama’s inauguration tomorrow. How far this country has come since 1963! Yes, we still have far to go — many problems to solve, crises to avert– but for today and tomorrow, I’m celebrating with the nation in a spirit of hope & unity, one nation, freedom and justice for all. Our extended families are like this nation– of diverse opinions, varying incomes, from every region. We are bonded by love, even when we disagree on issues. Each of us touches other lives beyond our families. We toss pebbles of thought, prayers and intentions into the reflecting pool and hope ripples out. My good wishes go out to all of you — wishing you strength in facing misfortune and loss, comfort in caring for family and friends, and joy in embracing your talents, dreams and the people with whom you share your daily lives.
I was in downtown Oakland on Friday: hope & pride abounded (here in a community rocked by anger over the police shooting of an unarmed young man in a Bart station on New Year’s day.) The parking attendant who took my money said he was going to bring a TV in to his booth on Tuesday to watch the inauguration. People in the bookstore at a display of election-related books shared excitement and tears with me over the astonishing photos of a nation coming together. A homeless man on the street, who coveted my cream soda, smiled and talked about the inauguration. Of course, I gave him my soda.”
The hope is palpable. Last evening, I was in the garden. Neighbors walking their dog stop to bask in a shared optimism. Later, at my computer, a work associate and friend emails a message from her Blackberry: “In DC. The city is electric!” I reply that some friends are gathering for our own “inaugural ball” on Tuesday. We’re dressing up. Brenda replies: “Wear pearls in honor of our new First Lady.”
I will deck my self with all that glitters and shines, for today we have a new President and First Lady, and I am filled with joy.