Thursday, November 24, 2016

Just some thoughts

 I’ve been going to the reservation for nearly two decades now 
and I can’t begin to catalogue all I’ve learned in that time.

 What I DO know, 
above all else, 
is that what began as ‘service’, or Mission trips, 
has morphed into ‘visits home’ 
and ‘seeing family and friends’.
The spiritual life that so many of us long for 
isn’t a life set apart from our everyday existence; 
it’s not found by ‘doing good works’ 
or by convincing another person to worship God 
in a prescribed style that may work for you.

 Henri Nouwen captured it perfectly when he wrote: 
The spiritual life can only be real 
when it is lived in the midst of the pains and joys 
of the here and now”.
A single trip to the reservation can be overwhelming 
when faced with the third world level of need and poverty.
If you let it,
it can blind you to the richness and beauty 
of people and place 
that dwells alongside the brokenness. 
It can make the ‘here and now’ too painful to be fully present.

I’ve come to trust the value of simply showing up  - 
and each time I find myself 
sitting with the pain that some folks on the reservation carry, 
I’m overwhelmed with my own inability to do much more 
than stand in awe, 
struck dumb by the sheer size of their burden; 
more than I’ve ever been asked to carry – 
and I used to think I’ve shouldered my share.

Standing in solidarity with people 
generally doesn’t change the facts of the reality they live with 
but it can change the way that we perceive that reality.
It can remind us of who we are.
We are not what we do 
or what people say about us 
and we are definitely not what we own or have. 

It can remind us that we’re not alone.
We are all the beloved daughters and sons of God.

I don't know about you, but I need that reminder
from time to time -
especially in this political time and climate.

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