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One Day

gingerbread-house
Even in darkness it is possible to create light and encourage compassion.” ―Elie Wiesel

I've Been Thinking...

The other day, I was listening to the news and was struck that I kept hearing the phrase “on day one" over and over.

“On day one,” the pundits said, “the Biden/Harris team will be ready to go.” “They are picking people who will be ready on day one.” “On day one, these people will know exactly what to do.”

That, of course, got me thinking. Hmm, is that really true? Do I really want someone to make big decisions on day one? Do I want someone to walk in the door and tell me, “Listen, here’s how it’s going to go. Here’s what’s going to change. This is what you need to know and do.” Or do I want someone to walk in on day one, sit down, gather people around, and start the hard work of listening and rebuilding trust?

Let’s face it. Day one is important in any relationship, but day one in a fractured relationship is even more critical. And that’s what we, the American people, have with our leaders: a fractured, broken relationship. Very few of us trust those in Washington D.C. to do what’s right for the collective us. And right now the collective us is divided almost right down the middle. So, what are we to do?

Now, I know there are those who believe that trust can’t be repaired once it’s broken. Many view broken trust as a deal breaker, but there are others who hold a different view. A wise therapist once told me that when a relationship is ruptured and/or fractured, therein lies an opportunity for repair—be it in a personal relationship, a parental relationship, and/or a business relationship.

“You have two choices,” he told me. “Either bolt or dig in.”

I remember being super skeptical. But he continued to explain to me that while people are terrified of fighting or disagreeing, it is in the disagreement it is in the rupture that the opportunity for growth presents itself.

He said that the people who are willing to step forward and do the work of repairing and rebuilding are the ones who end up having the deepest, most trusting relationships.

That therapist’s work changed how I approached ruptures in my own life. It encouraged me to wade through difficult conversations and situations to be patient and to be optimistic about rebuilding trust, as well as being vulnerable about asking for the opportunity to rebuild trust. He taught me about the importance of getting to “one day” by being willing to start over on day one. He also taught me that sometimes rebuilding trust depends on the situation.

Sometimes you may not be working to rebuild trust in the other, but instead working to rebuild trust in yourself, which is hard work. Sometimes it means believing that you can find a way to heal, find your way through the situation, and muster up the strength to get to the other side.

Today, millions of people don’t trust those in government. They see leaders say one thing and do another. They don't trust any of our institutions. They don’t trust those in business or faith-based institutions. They don’t trust a vaccine to do what it’s supposed to do. They don’t trust the media to report the truth. They don't even trust their fellow human beings to wear a mask to protect them.

Rebuilding trust is the work of this moment. It is not just the life-changing work of the president-elect and his team, but of each and every one of us. It won’t be easy, and it won’t happen overnight. We may not find ways to agree on everything, but what I think we can all collectively agree on is that we need to find a way to rebuild trust in one another, so that we can heal, and move forward.

Once I started thinking about this opportunity and talking with others about it (see below), I became inspired about the possibilities that lay in front of us. I became hopeful about “day one” in a way that I wasn’t before.

Day one is important, but not exactly in the way the pundits are saying. Perhaps day one is about getting us to the “one day” we all hope for. On day one, if we listen and recommit and say that we are willing to dig in, get honest, act with integrity, and do the hard work, then and only then will our vision of “one day” be possible.

So today, ask yourself if you have a vision for “one day.” Do you have a personal vision, a professional vision, a public vision? What does it look like for you? What are you willing to do to make that vision a reality? Are you willing to listen and seek understanding? Are you willing to hold space for someone else's pain? Pain you may have even caused, knowingly or unknowingly? Are you courageous enough to reach across the rupture and seek to make yourself and your relationships whole?

I hope so, because that’s what it’s going to take. Deep, internal fortitude. Deep willingness not to give up, but to give in to the possibility of another way that might not be your way. It will take you not having all the answers. It will require you to act differently on day one than you might have imagined. 

I know you may be thinking, easier said than done. Rebuilding trust is hard. I agree, but it’s not impossible. It starts with making amends. Promise your integrity. Be who you say you are. Continue to show up. Love unconditionally. Respect people’s boundaries. Allow them to be themselves without judgment. Talk about a shared “one day.” Work collectively and consistently towards that vision.

I believe deeply in the vision of “one day.” I hold the possibility of one day front and center in my life. It's something I dream about. It’s something I talk about. It’s a guiding principle in my life. “If we do this thing or act this way,” I often tell my children, “then one day things will be better. If we don’t, we have no hope of ever getting closer to the vision we hold. It is what it is.” I truly believe that.

One day, we will look back on this time and talk about what we learned, how we grew, and how grateful we were that we stayed the course that got us to where we wanted to go. Allow the hope of “one day” to keep you hopeful. Allow the vision of “one day” to get you up every day and keep you inspired about what’s possible in your own life and in the life of our country.

I have a close friend who always answers my anxious questions about when things will get better with this: “One day, Maria. One day.” For some reason hearing that reassures me.

As far as I’m concerned, “one day” can’t come soon enough. I’m not waiting for someone new to sit down in the Oval Office to begin the work of getting us there. Day one can begin today at my kitchen table and at yours. We're ready to be united, we're ready to be whole, we're ready to live in a country where I can trust you and you can trust me. I know we've got work to do to get there, but the truth is it’s not just the president-elect who’s ready. We’re ready, too.

Love,
Maria
PRAYER OF THE WEEK                                       

Dear God, please help us believe in the possibility of what's to come. May we believe in a vision of things getting better one day, and may we begin the work to get there together. Amen.

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