When my youngest was maybe four years old he slumped down the stairs one morning, head hanging low on his chest, and announced in that weird nasally accent he had as a kid: DIS IS DOT MY BEST DAY.
It made us laugh. It still makes us laugh. We've teased him countless times over the last fifteen years about his persistent penchant for melodrama. Whenever something goes less-than-perfectly for Brian, we remind him it is “dot his best day.”
Flash forward to December 2021. Let's be honest...it's been a long time since many of us have had a “best day.”
We’re living in proverbially dark times. It isn't just about a lethal and ever-evolving pandemic. It’s racial division. It's political toxicity. It's climate change and a mental health crisis and global injustice and has anyone stopped to consider Billy Joel may NOT live forever???
This is not our best day.
But consider this:
There’s a moment in King Lear, arguably the darkest and most depressing of all Shakespearean tragedies, when a distraught Edgar observes, "The worst is not / So long as we can say / This is the worst."
I never gave much thought to the line before I steeled myself to face the third year of a plague. Today, after a heart-wrenching conversation with a friend who lost her children's father to COVID, I remembered the "we" in Edgar's aside.
It is dark, no doubt. It may grow darker still. But this is not the worst, because we are still here.
And that “we” is everything, isn’t it? That “we” includes doctors and nurses and teachers and preachers and family and friends who keep showing up. That "we" includes every single human being who keeps helping and hoping--and healing.
No, these are not our best days. They are heavy and sad and relentless. It can be hard to believe it will get better. It can be downright hard to breathe.
But we are here. And in the words of a much lesser poet than Shakespeare, in the words of the immortal and imperfect Dr. Seuss: "Christmas Day will always be, just as long as we have we."
Happy holidays. Here's to brighter days ahead, for us all.