The Face of Janus
The Face of Janus
Today marks the beginning of January, a month which was named after the mythical god Janus, who had one face facing backward and one face facing forward. To face something means to look at it square on—not with sideways glances or half closed eyes.
2020 began with so much hope, and a promise of new “20/20” vision for the world, for its future. And to be truthful, we did see things we never thought we would see—had never seen before.
We saw entire countries shuttered and shut down, people told to become ghosts in their own towns. We saw as a collective humanity suddenly forced to confront sudden mortality—not from the hands of evil doers but from invisible germs that spread in the air, silent and deadly.
We saw a black man murdered on screen, live, his life snuffed out by a white man’s knee, and this triggered a convulsion in this country that sent shock waves of protest and human cries saying “No more. No more. No more.” We saw the continued rain of disinformation and people vying for political gain—families torn asunder by politics in ways we had never seen before.
And yet, here we are, those of us who have thus far survived this pandemic. And there is still so much to be grateful for, hopeful for, looking forward with the Janus face, facing the future.
For the future is what we make it—it is now and has always been so. It is not handed down to us from Mt. Olympus. It is what we choose it to be—set our minds to have it be—set our hands and hearts and efforts towards making it be what it could be. A place of promise and equal opportunity for all. A place where decency and respect become the normative value in all relationships, including that of ours with Mother Earth.
So on this first day of January, 2021, let us set our hearts towards a present time, now, where we emerge from our depths of ignorance and callousness and disregard for the health of others, and once again treat all life as the fragile, beautiful, gossamer gift it is.
Our time here is but a wisp. A whisper. A prayer.
It is an iron anvil against which all wrongs can be hammered right, and we can turn towards our God and smile once again, knowing we did what we came here to do.
Amen and amen.