I pray to the birds.
I pray to the birds because
I believe they will carry the messages of my heart upward.
I pray to them because I believe in their existence,
the way their songs begin and end each day,
the invocations and benedictions of earth.
I pray to the birds because they remind me of what I love
rather than what I fear.
And at the end of my prayers,
they teach me how to listen.
—Terry Tempest Williams
As the global pandemic continues both to unfold and to recede from our daily view, its effect will linger long into the future. Careful attention to spiritual, emotional, and physical health will remain crucial to our own and others’ capacity to flourish. For some, transforming our collective isolation into an opportunity for communal solitude during the lockdown enabled us to discover that it was, as it had always been, the seedbed for growth in holiness and wholeness, for communion and connection, for resistance and renewal; for others, that opportunity may have been all too distant. The pandemic unveiled in sharp relief the radically unequal distribution of national and global health, economic, educational, and social resources—an inequity driven by white supremacy and its minions—which left countless even more under-resourced than they had been before the outbreak.
The work before us is clear. We must tend to healing not only as a personal project but also a collective imperative. No one can be fully “recovered” from the experience of this pandemic until all of us are. The Office of the Chaplain and Religious and Spiritual Life will be continuing to encourage all at HDS to use the time ahead to sharpen our spiritual and intellectual practices, particularly those that advance inquiry into and repair of racist, misogynist, classist, ageist, and heteronormative patterns, habits, and systemic policies. We have archived here.