Inviting you to MIT Reflects: Moments of Remembrance and Hope

March 05, 2021

To the members of the MIT community,

I write with an invitation.

We stand on the verge of marking a full year in the shadow of the virus. Through this long year, we have all done a great deal of work and a great deal of worrying. Some of us have been on the front lines against the virus. Every one of us has lost many things we loved and counted on – and some have lost the people they loved the most.

All of us long for that sense of connection that we only truly feel in person. But even as we recognize the isolation and struggles of this past year, I see great value in the fact that the pandemic opened a window: it demanded that we see each other’s lives in more dimensions, allowed us to glimpse each other’s families, inspired us to contemplate each other’s struggles. Paradoxically – and to an extent we might never have achieved in the times “before” – the same force that barricades us from being together invites us into radical empathy. 

I find that this empathy leads in two directions: towards gratitude and grief. I would like to be sure that we make time and space for both of those feelings now.

If you feel, as I do, amazed by the intense creative labors and struggles and perseverance of everyone around you over the last year, I encourage you to let them know. And if you would like to share your appreciation publicly for other people at MIT, please do!

I am equally convinced that there is value in taking time to truly grieve together. As we contend, separately and together, with the pressures and losses of this long crisis, the MIT chaplains and I invite you to join us for an online opportunity to gather and reflect. 

MIT Reflects: Moments of Remembrance and Hope
Wednesday, March 10
4:30–5:30 p.m. Eastern Time

live-captioned webcast with ASL interpreter available
You may also view the program afterwards at that same link.

More than two dozen people were asked to help with this ceremony – and within hours, all of them said yes. I suspect their hunger to participate speaks to a broad hunger in the community to come together now, as best we can.

Through music and poetry as well as prayers drawn from the diversity of the world’s spiritual and ethical traditions, on Wednesday we will honor the people we have lost, recognize one another’s struggles, reflect on what gave us meaning and celebrate the strengths we found. 

After the opening program, you may choose to join fellow community members, including the chaplains, in small Zoom groups for further conversation. A highlight will be the opportunity to name those new insights, habits, practices and friendships from this strange time that we each hope to sustain – what you might call your personal “Covid keepers.”

I hope many of you can join us.

With deepest appreciation and gratitude,

L. Rafael Reif