About Me

My photo
I work as a teacher, poet and spiritual director at a number of institutions in the DC area. My teaching focuses in various ways on writing, poetry, Spirituality and Christian vocation and ministry - especially from the point of view of the laity. I also offer classes and retreats encouraging people to explore their inner lives, engage their creativity and reflect on their beliefs about God, vocation, and how we can discern and pursue new ways to transform our broken world. I enjoy speaking of faith in the secular academy as well as reminding those preparing for ministry in the Church that our primary purpose is to love and serve the world beyond the church's doors. I love helping people to grow in faith and to find their own voices, and I also love encouraging them to use their minds. I see no contradiction between these impulses, believing as I do that faith, reason and creativity work together.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

My thoughts as I'm watching Hillary's Concession Speech

So here we are after this election.   With headlines I and most of my friends and family did not expect.  I am watching Hillary’s concession speech I am and probably will be for awhile on the edge of tears, and maybe over the edge.   Perhaps for the first time in my life I’m aware of the rejection of someone I admired and deeply identify with:  an educated, organized, strong white woman. I really thought it was our moment.  And I just ache for Hillary and all she has been through, all she has offered, the President she could have been and knows she could have been.   She is such a class act.  

OK. Here come the tears.

And I also know that we have to go on, with our eyes wide open and clear, and avoid denial and smoothing over and continue, those of us with means, privilege and power, to work for those who continue to be left behind and rejected in our system.   And to watch for ways to do this both within and outside of our political system. 

 For me it has been a rollercoaster week.  I spent all day on Monday ringing doorbells in Pennsylvania for Hillary, in Reading PA – meeting people across the spectrum – in small working class homes, in student houses connected to nearby Albright CollegeThe canvassing team of 4 that I was assigned to included me, a Jewish woman about Hillary’s age, a young African American man (a lawyer), and a Muslim neighbor.     It was a high-energy, hopeful group, the busload of us who spent the day traveling from Maryland to a neighborhing battleground state – we bought into the strategy, and we met people who had great enthusiasm about voting.  I walked up and down hills in residential neighborhoods in beautiful fall weather – I think the images of that day will stay with me, and I’m glad I did it.     

Then on Tuesday, I spent the morning at the SamaritanMinistry office, doing casework with people who need to find jobs and are shut out of the system because of the shredding of the safety net, the high cost of housing, the lack of education and support sytem.    I will continue this work and find more ways to do it and to work for whatever political change can happen – on the most local level if necessary. 

And in the afternoon, speaking with my spiritual director.  And then the evening as the election returns came in and began a period of mourning for me.  The grieving, the anger, the deep sadness will continue:  and I have also learned that mourning, and anger on the side of the oppressed, help us to grow in compassion.    It has to.  And my days of canvassing, of meeting reasonable, lovely, diverse people did make me feel positive about this country, our diversity and strengths. It was the America I believe in:  “hopeful, resilient and big-hearted” as Hillary says. 

Sustaining me is the hope that there is resilience in this country, and among us who believe that we are “stronger together.”  That was not just a slogan: and it doesn’t mean papering over differences. But it means continuing to see each other clearly.   Standing up for everyone and supporting one another and those who have no voice.    Opposing outrageous policies and craziness.  And being, really, yes:  “stronger together.”  

This evening I am on to lead a Bible study at a local church -- the Gospel of Matthew, looking at Jesus' teaching and the Sermon on the Mount.  The story of Jesus that we have in this gospel Matthew is about a community that forms in the midst of great political turmoil and surrounded by values that are not those of this community.    And he preaches inclusiveness, care for the poor, healing for those who are left out.   Reading this part of the gospel story today I am impressed by the way that Jesus’ teaching of his disciples invites and describes a way of life and an attitude that is a life-giving way in any and all times.  And for me the shift in national fortunes makes this even more vivid.  

I've posted on a separate page my poem "Judgment Day" -written in 2001 -- which sounds in a different way what I'm still mulling over, as someone who belongs to the now-discredited "elite" and aware of my connection to so many of my neighbors.  Still not sure how to paraphrase the insight but I think it still speaks.

No comments:

Post a Comment