I went to bed last night having let go of my faith and I woke up this morning in a pitch-dark room. I didn’t know what to say. I didn’t know how to walk. For someone who believes the connection to God, each other, the planet, and myself, is my spiritual journey, the light had gone out.
I am grieving this morning for all those who voted out of fear. I am grieving for those who felt like they didn’t have a good choice. I am grieving for all women who have experienced the trauma of sexual assault only to be re-traumatized by this election. I am grieving for black and brown brothers and sisters who once again are feeling the danger and oppression that our culture perversely imbues their color. I am grieving for immigrants, documented and undocumented, whose humanity and security is diminished by this vote. I am grieving for Muslims whose faith automatically illicit fear and with impunity demonizes their character. I am grieving for our planet that desperately needs our stewardship and love. I am grieving all those, like me, who have lost their faith.
Kelly McGonigal, PhD., who researches compassion at Stanford University, describes my condition as moral distress—the inability to trust each other and ourselves because of a crisis in our basic belief in goodness. As this morning has progressed and by forces greater than me, I have put one foot in front of the other. Here’s the thing about a pitch-dark room, the only antidote is light and the only light that I completely control is my own. So with faith the size of a mustard seed, I am turning on my light. With a timid heart afraid of being disappointed, hurt and broken, I am turning on the only light that can pierce darkness—love. I’m starting with you, my friends and family—you are easiest to love. Even though my instinct is to close my arms, I am opening my arms and reminding you and me that I see you and I love you.
However, as important as this first step is, I don't feel angel wings or hear sweet kumbayas. In fact the flicker of light illuminates harder questions: How do I love justly? What do I do with my own privilege and explicit and implicit participation in oppression? How do I love without turning a blind eye to injustice? How do I fight for justice without dehumanizing those who dehumanize? In her article, Finding the Good After the Election, Dr. McGonigal has three suggestions:
!. Do something.
2. Look for the good.
3. Be the good
I will find my way. I will find my legs again but I won’t do it alone. I need you. We need each other.
Finally I leave you with this anthem by Michael Franti--I think this is what light looks like. My choir has had the blessing of singing with Michael several times and I always feel uplifted.
Daily Bites and Blessings
Welcome to "Daily Bites and Blessings." Pull up a chair. I’ve set a place for you at the table. These edibles are sometimes bitter, sometimes sweet and often they are both. This is a come as you are party. I invite you to bring your compassion, courage, and curiosity as we dine together on life's bounty. May our time together give us more light and more love.