I write this in a week in which it feels as if the world is falling apart. I want to acknowledge and normalize for people those feelings that go beyond irritation, beyond anger, beyond frustration to a kind of deep disillusionment. So many people have talked to me in the last couple weeks about how frightened they are to live in these times. These numbers are added to the numbers of marginalized people who have been speaking to me about this for more than 2 years.
In 2016, on Election Day, we kept our Sanctuary open all day as a place of respite and comfort for those who were feeling afraid. A number of people told me they thought it was foolish for it was certain that hate would not win. I still believe that hate will not win and that the arc of the universe is long but I do think that hate will claim some on that journey and we must do everything we can to make sure that the numbers lost are few.
If you are feeling sad or scared or overwhelmed, I urge you to and reach out and be present to those who are still living on the side of love in a world that is chasing after the targets of hate. The daily bedlam that is the news, the piling on of tragedy after tragedy, the reemergence of forces of lethal oppression which re-emerged when many thought them gone. All of this is leading many of people many people to a level of Despair that they have not experienced before. For those who have been experiencing this despair since 2016, the burden is seeming too heavy. Please do not ignore these feelings within you for they can grow and can be dangerous. Go out and talk to a tree or the stars at night. Take a walk or call a friend. Come to church and keep working with us to make this a sanctuary community.
If you are not feeling particularly overwhelmed, do all those things anyway, especially being present for our congregation which can be a critical sanctuary for so many of these times. If you have previously been resistant to listen to the voices of those who said they were frightened, listen to them now. Listen to the fears of others who are joining their ranks and be willing to give that gift of listening. Help out in the ordinary mundane ways that keep communities running. Bring your good spirit to our auction, aptly named this year BID FOR LOVE for that is truly what you are doing. Make coffee for the masses, or volunteer to help out with our Thanksgiving dinner because what a year to be alone on a holiday. Sign up to help with Winter Nights, speak with Reverend Neal about giving someone a ride who really needs to be with us. Just come to Sunday worship or Wednesday vespers.
The chaos around us is designed to throw us off balance and keep us from looking at the ways that our planet, our climate, and our economy are being raided. Resistance is in our solidarity, our resilience, and our willingness to recognize our interdependence. Those are all big concepts and they’re made true in little acts day to day.
The picture above is my pumpkin that I carved this year. And yep, it says, stay woke. Because we must.