We are just about a week into 2021 and a lot has seemed to happen already. The Capitol insurrection was a devasting event for our nation. I was happy to connect with some in the congregation that evening through Zoom to be in community with each other.
Lots of feelings when this happened. My first job out of grad school was with the Architect of the Capitol. It is the federal agency that takes care of the Capitol building, all the House and Senate buildings, the Supreme Court building, the Library of Congress building, and the U.S. Botanic Gardens. I was hired for a fairly new position that was created after Newt Gingrich’s Contract with America, which gave legislative branch employees the right to unionize and bargain collectively. I participated in some of those first contract negotiations with about eight different unions representing different trades of employees doing work in and around the buildings. This was my start in the world of labor relations.
I remember all the times I was able to walk through the halls and see the beauty created so many years ago. My boss would show me places in the Capitol that visitors were not able to go. He shared with me the history of the building from the eyes of someone who worked there. As I watched the insurrection, I was deeply saddened to see the carelessness with which that sacred building was being treated. I then thought of all the employees who would have to clean up and fix the damage that was done. I thought of the work those employees and others had put into setting things up for the inauguration, work that was now undone and destroyed. My heart broke for the employees in the building worried for their health and safety, their life.
In my office, the one in the federal building in downtown Cincinnati, I have a picture of the Capitol on the wall across from my desk. Very easy to see while I sit and work. It has well-wishes from my coworkers during my time working with the Architect of the Capitol. I long to see that again and feel the connection with the building and its employees.
As we continue to move through 2021, think of your connections to others. Establish again those connections that have faded. Stay connected!
Virtual hugs to all!