– Written by Rev. Tambi Swiney
I can’t get her words out of mind. Last Wednesday, 22-year-old Amanda Gorman burst into the world’s collective consciousness as she recited her poem “The Hill We Climb” on the steps of the U.S. Capitol. Gorman began and ended her poem with references to light.
In the opening line of her poem, Gorman poses a timely question:
“When day comes we ask ourselves,
where can we find light in this never-ending shade?”
The word “dark” has been used repeatedly to use to describe the historical period in which we are living. Where can we find light in these dark days?
Amanda Gorman answers her own question in the closing lines of her poem:
“For there is always light,
if only we’re brave enough to see it.
If only we’re brave enough to be it.”
Poet June Jordan would agree with Amanda Gorman. In her “Poem for South African Women,” Jordan declared: “We are the ones we have been waiting for.”
We are called to be the light. Jesus declared this in his Sermon on the Mount: “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:14-16)
Let your light shine, Jesus said. How do we do this? By remaining connected to One who is the source of all light. The psalmist wrote, “You, Lord, keep my lamp burning; my God turns my darkness into light.” (Psalm 18:28) We do not have to draw from our own limited resources to be light in the world; instead, we can allow the power of God to flow through us. With God’s help, we can illuminate the darkness. With God’s help, we can be light for women who are searching for a way out of the darkness where they have dwelled for far too long. With God’s help, we can be bearers of the light for one another on those dark days when we can’t see the way forward.
To be light in the world requires courage and connection. May Amanda Gorman’s words be true of us in our work on behalf of women and their families at The Next Door:
“Let the globe, if nothing else, say this is true,
Even as we grieved, we grew,
Even as we hurt, we hoped,
Even as we tired, we tried.”
Published on January 25, 2021