Looking Up

Where there's light, there's hope.

Ahhh. Savor the pause button.

Now that the election season with its attendant antagonism and anxiety has finally blown past, maybe we can get back to work on the real problems in an atmosphere of quiet cooperation.

In a way, this started almost before the marathon voting began, when super storm Sandy delivered its walloping reality check. Natural disasters, and unnatural ones as well, shake us out of our complacency and remind us of our common vulnerability. We are none of us immune to disasters. And in the face of calamity we turn to those with cool heads and warm hearts for help.

In the summer of 2011, when the talking heads in Washington, D.C., were absorbed in business and bickering as usual, an unusually strong and widespread earthquake measuring 5.8 shook the suits out of their insular hive and into the open air of the common people. No one was seriously injured, but the event cast a long shadow in the city due to its lingering effect on landmarks such as the Washington Monument and the National Cathedral.

The Washington Monument remains closed indefinitely, awaiting repairs. The National Cathedral has remained open, even as repairs are ongoing.

At our best, that’s the way we roll in this country. We get knocked down, but we get up and keep going, looking for that higher ground.

High above the pews in the Cathedral a veil of black netting now shields visitors from any bits of debris which may yet fall. The netting could be seen as a barrier, diminishing the impact of the building’s magnificent windows. But when the light shines through those windows now, at certain times of day it gets caught in the netting, producing a magical transitory illusion, something like the magic of faith itself.

It will take time to heal the discord in our mighty nation. There’s no magic wand or super pac power that can unite our divisive reds and blues and make them like it. But maybe it’s worth a try. Sometimes we just forget to look up.