By Bren Dubay
It’s been almost two years since Congressman John Lewis came to speak at the NAACP Banquet here in Americus, GA. Well before the scheduled date, his office contacted Koinonia — Congressman Lewis knew of the community and what took place here before and during the Civil Rights Movement and he had always wanted to visit. Like so many others in the Movement he didn’t visit in the 50s or 60s as Koinonia was deemed too dangerous. When I think about what John Lewis went through during that period and it being too dangerous for him and others to visit Koinonia, I am stunned all over again by what happened here.
Of course, we welcomed the Congressman’s visit. We were excited. The day came, and then a phone call. Congressman Lewis was detained and running late so he would not be able to stop at Koinonia as planned. He sent his apologies and said he wanted to reschedule a visit for another time.
Time has been different since March 2020. We’ve taken to calling it “coronavirus time.” Up on a white board in my office, I have started keeping a list of names of people that through the years I’ve often thought, “I should get in touch with her or him or them.” A good use of this coronavirus time would be to say, “Hello, I’m thinking about you.” All of the names are listed under John Lewis’ name. You see, two years ago I wrote his name on this white board to remind me to write to him, to thank him for the talk he gave at the NAACP Banquet, and to invite him to Koinonia.
I don’t know why I never sent him a letter. I actually have two very good drafts written to him on my computer. Was it because there was an election in 2018 and I knew he was too busy? Was it because there was an impeachment in 2019 and I was sure he must be too busy? What about when I heard he had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer? Why didn’t I write? He obviously cared about Koinonia. He is one of the community’s heroes and I knew how deeply we cared about him.
Are you like me? Do you put off staying in touch? Do you wait for the right time to send a hello? What is the right time? Now is the right time. People are suddenly gone — friends, family, acquaintances … heroes. How much time does it take to write a letter, send an email, a text, or even to pick up the phone and call? “I just wanted to hear your voice.” For all its devastation, the coronavirus has given us time. Don’t let this time pass.
People are suddenly gone. Write someone today to let her know you are thinking of her.