by E. Faye Williams

(—Like most of my relatives, friends, and acquaintances, I feel exceedingly blessed to have survived Earth’s annual traverse around the sun.  One cannot help but reflect on the dichotomy which our humanity and the realities of 2020 present us.  Although incapable of personally affecting an alternate outcome, we suffer with wonderment of what we could have done differently to reduce the loss and the extreme regret of losing over 300,000 souls to the Coronavirus.

Although two vaccines have been approved for emergency use by the FDA, we’re smacked with the reality that the end of the cycle of COVID-19 infection, illness, and death is far from over.  We must realize that COVID-19 is merely an addition to the continuum of life for which we must prepare and adapt.  It’s only been another significant cause for the separation by death which we must all endure.

We’ve watched thousands of our fellow citizens slip into poverty and the loss of control in their lives.  We’ve been given access into the daily despair with which they must contend.

Few of us can honestly say that 2020 has left us unscathed and without a sense of incompletion or loss.  I was talking with a relative and said during the last 10 months I felt discontentment—that I had been denied the opportunity to accomplish more for my community.  Although my life was not dormant, my ambitions for achieving a positive impact on those in my sphere of influence had not been realized.

Past experience has shown me how profoundly a constant barrage of tragedy and misfortune can wear on even the most confident and upbeat personality.  As optimistic as I am, I feel the pressure of the deluge of pain created by this current pandemic and the never-ending epidemic of social injustice, racial animus, and political indifference.

In the doldrums of these experiences, emotional discomforts, and pain, I can only say that I AM BLESSED!

I have no intention to proselytize, but, finding myself engaged with my own expressed emotional baggage, I have no alternative except to embrace my appreciation for the life I continue to live.  I take comfort from the last words of Christ, “It is finished!”  While regretting the things I’ve not been able to accomplish during the past 10 months, I understand that it is not finished. There’s more that I have left to do.

I am a person of FAITH!  I believe God’s put me in this place as an ambassador of His goodness, mercy, and concern. This belief consoles, uplifts and fortifies me with the resolve and strength to move forward.  It confirms my understanding of a common connection with humanity. This allows the spirit of “Do Unto Others” to order their behavior.

Most people have a passing familiarity with the phrase, “First do no harm.”  It originates in the Hippocratic Oath which is one of the earliest ‘binding oaths’ from the ancient Greeks establishing standards of medical treatment which doctors are obligated to provide their patients.  As for my personal conduct, I accept this oath as practical and necessary in my dealings with others.  My faith dictates that I live by a certain set of principles that elevates my conduct towards others and serves to assist others in elevating their conduct toward me and outcomes in their lives.

As I prepare for the experience of 2021, I do so with the understanding that I exist as an instrument of love, not hate.  Despite the adversities that confront me, I am destined to share the love and spirit of God which exists in all of us.  I am imbued with the power to choose how I live.  I AM BLESSED.

(Dr. E. Faye Williams is President of the National Congress of Black Women.)


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