The Hill We Climb

Several months ago, an anonymous individual shattered my flat screen television with with their three-year-old fast arm and their toy tool bench. A warrant is still out, but no arrests have been made. Out of an abundance of caution, I had our new television mounted above our fireplace. I have to really look up to see it now, out of the reach of small bandits.

So I was looking down, checking my phone when she started speaking. It was her voice — young and strong — that caused me to jerk my head up.

When day comes we ask ourselves
Where can we find light in this never-ending shade?
The loss we carry
a sea we must wade…

I was hooked. I’m not sure I looked down again until she was done speaking, enraptured not just by her poetry, but by her delivery, the way her words came to life as she spoke them with such fierce eloquence from behind that podium bearing the presidential seal.

The White House is seen in the early morning before Inauguration Day ceremonies, Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)Two weeks after a mob attempted to desecrate the steps of the U.S. Capitol, the words of this 22 year-old poet transcended our petty politics in the very same place. Amanda Gorman is her name, and I suspect we will hear her voice gladly for many years to come. The late governor of New York, Mario Cuomo, famously said, “You campaign in poetry; you govern in prose.” Regardless of our personal political convictions, there’s something to be said for startling, beautiful, and haunting language that lifts us above our differences.

Scripture tells us to envision
that everyone shall sit under their own vine and fig tree
And no one shall make them afraid
If we're to live up to our own time
Then victory won't lie in the blade
But in all the bridges we've made
That is the promise to glade
The hill we climb
If only we dare…

To read and hear more of that kind of brilliance, I’d invite you to find the words to her inaugural poem and watch her deliver them.

As we continue to journey through this pandemic, with dawn’s light beginning to break, I believe the best days of who we are — and who God has called us to be in Jesus Christ — still lie ahead of us. That’s the kind of hope for which I’ll gladly strain my neck to look up and behold.