I wonder if you have seen it? It goes something like this: “Friends, I will be leaving Facebook for a while.” Or this: “Friends, I will unfriend you in a heartbeat if you cannot keep your politics off my page.” Or this: “Friends, I will be monitoring and unfriending you if you cannot be in civil dialogue regarding….fill in the blank….”
I know folks who simply refuse to read the paper. Who won’t watch TV. They can’t bear the discord, the hate talk, the crudeness and the rudeness and the violence that seem to be all around us right now. There is great fear, great anxiety, great suffering, great hate. It is scary and people are turning away, turning off, and tuning out.
I went to the August Coffee Talk for SpokaneFāVS immured in silence. I hadn’t participated in heated political threads, in calls to action after shootings, killings, immoral government, hate filled campaign rhetoric. I had gone silent. I was held captive by my fear of the rage and the rudeness. And then, at that August Coffee Talk I was reminded again that silence is cooperation with the very things I feared and even hated. To be willing to talk and to listen, to struggle with the despair or the anger or the fear, and to do this in community; this is to begin to let go of the fear, and maybe the hate. It is a way to find courage to speak and to stand with my truth.
So now I am looking for a different strategy in facing a vicious campaign season, and death after death due to gun violence. I am looking for people of courage who talk to their children about generosity and empathy and welcome. I am uplifted by the local artist who wrote that she is doing all she can to love the world in this time of tragedy. I am encouraged by the people who do not shout epithets, but listen carefully. I am strengthened by the folks who continue to grow the trees, feed the animals, protect the water, create beautiful music and funny jokes. I am inspired by the people who continue to welcome the stranger, and open their lives to the new and different. I am looking for these sorts of people. I am keeping them company. I am practicing resilience and courage.
You, out there…how are you doing? Do you have a strategy for remaining hopeful and strong in our broken and bitter world? I would like to know, and share, and strategize with you. Because I know I dare not be silent. How about you?
- Viewpoints: Thanksgiving Traditions - November 29, 2017
- “Prayer is my communion” - November 25, 2017
- Showing up for our young people - September 27, 2017
- Generosity and compassion appear at the most unexpected moments - May 24, 2017
- To speak, or to be silent? - April 27, 2017
- Organizing: Turning fear into anger, despair into courage - February 1, 2017
- Eco theologian to speak tomorrow at Westminster about earth, need for change - October 31, 2016
- Bullying in politics - September 27, 2016
- I dare not be silent - August 12, 2016
- Tired, but still standing in ministry - April 8, 2016