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Opinion: What will we create in new 2021 sandbox?
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Chaniya Segar, 3, left, and Aubrey Summerour, 5, play in the sand during Beach Bash at Lanier Olympic Park in Gainesville on Saturday, July 13, 2019. - photo by Austin Steele

We sit in a sandbox on the edge of creating or destroying what’s to come in 2021. I am as ready as my neighbor to rid myself of 2020 and turn the page of the calendar to more hopeful times. 

I recall fondly sitting in my sandbox with spoons and plastic bowls and a garden hose nearby. For hours, my imagination would stir, and in that moment in time, I would contemplate what to create next and what to destroy. A neighborhood friend may join me and we would, no doubt, argue about where the bridges and tunnels should be in the squared-off world. 

Ultimately, negotiation would win and our world would be launched, and if a bridge or tunnel crumbled, we would work together to repair it, usually creating it better than before. 

As we have experienced this pandemic and its rippling effects, our decisions and actions have brought about repercussions, some peaceful and others destructive. These actions have resulted in personal and community effects. They have either opened up new possibilities or crushed opportunities. Our next step, a new year is upon us. 

The political season has brought great division, and discussions of differences have pitted friends against friends, families against families, states against states. Troll along any thread of social media and you can sense the intense emotion surrounding current events. 

It is up to us what we do with the sand of 2021. What will we create? Ecclesiastical thinking suggests there is a time for everything under the sun. In 2021, will we be open to new possibilities, and will we create spaces of healing for a fractured world, and will we respect the differences among humankind, and will we allow others to play within the sandbox of life and will we listen, negotiate and create life-giving conditions that will foster sand castles? 

It is time to rewire people’s minds and hearts and bind them together for the good of the people. 

My children are young adults now, and as I look upon 2021, I hope they will be part of the answer and that they will be rallied by hope and love. 

Shane Rayburn

Gainesville

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