I sit here today needing to write a column for you to read … and I find myself at a loss for words.
What words can be used to appropriately describe the state the world currently finds itself in? How do we find words to talk about what is happening in Ukraine, in Palestine and in Israel? What are the words needed to adequately address climate change and the future that we are leaving? How do we talk about the hatred and violence that is being shown towards the 2SLGBTQIA+ community?
In every one of those examples, I imagine like me, you have an opinion. You have thoughts on what is happening, what the approach should be, perhaps even have taken sides. For every one of those sides taken, for every one of those opinions had, on each and every one of these issues there are people who have the exact opposite opinion, who feel as strongly about their opinion as you do about yours. That is where at this moment in time I find myself at a loss.
When that happens in my life my next step in thinking then is … what do we do when we find ourselves at a loss for words, when we find ourselves at a crossroads, when we find ourselves in a place where we may feel discouraged, or the task seems impossible. I do two things. One is to look to God to give me the strength needed, but I also do some reflection and discernment around what is that strength needed for. In this situation I’m reminded by a quote, I’ve heard this quote attributed to the actor Martin Sheen, “I don’t do justice work because I’m trying to change the world. I don’t do justice work because I’m trying to make myself feel better. I do justice work because I cannot not do it and still be who I am.”
That is what I pray God to give me the strength for. To be me. To live out my values of love, compassion and grace, and to work towards a world that does the same. A world where hatred and violence has no place. When I feel stuck, when I feel like I just can’t, I pray to God to remind me of who I am at my core. Remind me of who I want to be as a person, and to give me the strength to live those values out in every situation … even if I don’t have the words at that moment.