It’s hard to “sing and rejoice” in the “thick night of darkness” yet something within me seeks the Light and wants to proclaim it. This is a deliberate choice on my part. It keeps me sane in times of trouble. The world would like to portray a glass as either half empty or half full. I chose to see the glass as a vessel that needs to be constantly filled. In a thirsty world I cannot ignore the needs of others, because they are my needs as well. We are in this together.
For over twenty years I was a science teacher, but what I really taught (on my best days anyway) was how to think and reason as a life skill and how to get along with and respect others. My job was to inspire others to engage in the learning process. My values as a Friend were interwoven with my job. Seeing that of God in my students and their parents informed my teaching.
Engaging in the political process is no less important or even separate from the learning process. For Friends the secular is not separate from the spiritual. As a nation we made our choices in the last election and now we see (perhaps to our horror) how the process is playing out. We want to be hopeful, but we may be fearing the worst. As we exercised our civic duty we trusted that the will of the people would be heard. But what if the will of the people results in suffering for others? Never before in my lifetime has the necessity of staying engaged in the political process been clearer. To say that the election is a disappointment is an understatement. For some people at least the negative consequences are very real. There are people, especially in minority communities, who are now living in fear for their very lives.
What is our role as Friends in binding the wounds of injustice and helping others to see the Light amid the darkness? First we can be a safe listening place for people to express their fears. Second we should be ready to place our bodies beside those most in danger. We have an opportunity to bear witness to God’s love in what seems like a “thick night of darkness.” In the end we also gain by being of service to others. As the nation moves forward it is easy to leave behind the dispossessed. How can we help those in need to feel safer and part of the process? Here I prayerfully seek God’s guidance. I do know that platitudes like “it will all be OK” are not enough.
In the days ahead we are called to be vigilant. There is a great deal at stake. Take time to listen to that “still small voice” for a way forward and know that no deed is too small when the needs are so great. Perhaps all we can do is to be present and speak Truth to power. We have an opportunity to show God’s love in every day acts of kindness. Living up to the challenge of our faith we can take comfort in troubled times and become as Jesus admonished us: “I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.” (Matthew 10: 16) That’s a lot to live up to but we are given the spiritual resources. We need the peace we find in our Meetings for Worship more than ever to help us be “children of the day and the Light.”