Thankful for the Infinite that Holds Us

Small in the face of large things

EAFWSo… It is a lot to hold… the hydrogen bomb in N. Korea that could maybe fit on a missile that would reach the US. The devastation of Harvey and the unrelenting hurricane season of 2017. The fires that ravaged Oregon, Montana, California. Earthquakes killing people and angry, frightened men with guns killing and traumatizing people. Worry about my aging dad who lives in Chile, so far away from me.

Earth, Air, Fire, Water… and broken Spirits. Elemental destruction and brokenness. We are small and the brokenness is immense.

None of these things are something I can do anything about. So I need to just hold them.

Taking Action

Mother Earth. Composite by (cc) 2013.
Mother Earth. Composite by Alice PopKorn CC License, 2013.

My allergies and the highly unpleasant reaction I had to the new allergy meds… They are things I can take action to address. But there are things somewhere in between… the daily damage of white supremacy culture and rape culture, writ large and small. The continued destruction of our earth… our lifeboat on this starry sea. These are things I can do my one small part about. (At the same time as I’m handling my own physical, mental, spiritual health and the well being of my near and dear.) It is a lot to hold.

I remember the family ritual… Thanksgiving day, Mom and we two daughters preparing a large meal. Dad’s grad students, from countries I couldn’t pronounce, bringing gifts of food and bright curious spirits. Dad, telling the American Thanksgiving Myth, with no nuance about colonization or white supremacy. And the lesson that I took from it: that Thanksgiving is for sharing harvest bounty with everyone and that Thanksgiving is a time to bring people who are different from you closer, to learn about one another and share family, food, and home. The myth wasn’t what was important, the living out of gratitude and welcome was.
GAYTThese days our religious movement provides us boxes, similar to the “March of Dimes” boxes of my childhood. These little cardboard boxes go home with members of the congregation and sit on our Thanksgiving tables where we are reminded of people who could use a little help. Neighbors close by and in other countries. We can’t invite all these people to have Thanksgiving dinner with use, so we put money in these “Guest at Your Table” boxes and send it to the Social Justice office for our movement.

These acts of neighborliness are good, and not enough. We also need to go “upriver” to change the laws that that cause inequities, to change the social structures that allow angry, broken men to escalate from domestic violence and rape to mass shootings without intervention and help. We need to break down the insulation between those enjoying an opulent meal together and those who don’t have enough to eat because the were thrown out of the house after they came out. We need to show up for the family that is caring for their neighbors even in the shadow of violence that has devastated them, and their ancestors, violence and inequity in the streets, from the authorities or the white supremacists.

Drawing On Strength

It is hard to imagine doing all of these things: Mourning together, celebrating together, working together, getting out of our comfortable protected homes (or protective emotional shells), creating change, sharing our gifts, holding the weight of our shared heritage… Yet, we can do this, together.

So much gratitude that we have each other.

So much gratitude I can draw on the strength of divine love that will cherish me deeply while I cherish this life that is all around me.

May you breath in peace. May you breath out love. May we all be grateful for all that is our lives.

 

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