It’s back to the news and the news is kind of hard these days. Like many folks, I’m working to strike a balance between avoidance (or one could say head completely in the sand) and engagement that leaves me feeling committed to the work before us and not helpless or overwhelmed. It’s not always easy to manage. In our Cyber 787 cohort this week we shared Rabbi Sharon Brous’ TED talk on reclaiming religion, and one of the pillars she observes in emerging faith communities across different traditions is something she calls “wakefulness.” I’m wishing a sense of grace-filled wakefulness for each of us as we walk through the next few weeks, so that we can do the diligent work of civic duty by paying attention. For those of us with the privilege and responsibility of a vote in this election, may we each practice wisdom at the polls, remembering the disenfranchised in our communities, finding ways to support their quest to have their vote counted and voices heard as we double down on our own participation. Let’s all commit to praying and watching as big things happen every day: virus surges, judicial confirmations, voter access, economic challenges, police violence, racial reckoning and healing, and the ongoing hardship faced by immigrants and asylum seekers at our borders and in our communities. Finding particular news pieces that spoke to the heart of each of these felt difficult in the current fray, so instead I’m offering you bits of inspiration that bubbled up in life and work over the past few weeks for you to consider:
*This short article about a Japanese tourist who waited in Peru 7 months to visit Machu Picchu caught my eye and warmed my heart.
*The Washington Post’s oral history project “Voices from the Pandemic” continues to share challenging but vital stories from a wide range of people about their COVID experiences. This one was published recently, and is hard to read, but shares a compelling and unusual perspective if you can engage.
*Chadwick Boseman’s death was a significant loss during a season of loss. I’ve been avoiding social media, so this was probably already widely circulated, but I loved loved loved watching his commencement address at Howard University and learning more about his powerful biography and the considerable impact of his career. The first few minutes are academia in full swing as he receives an honorary doctorate: Celebrate all the ceremonies we’ve missed the past 8 months vicariously and make sure to stay for the speech. It’s balm for the soul and a testament to resilience in difficult times.
*This article is an oldie but a goodie that I found while cleaning out old files in which Elaine Heath focuses on the importance of hospitality and community in the life of faith. After reading this article from the BBC about the success of continental Africa in combatting the COVID crisis, it started my brain all a-flutter about connecting the important practice of healthy community in our efforts to support community health, and how we might improve these ecosystems after this public health crisis and before the next.
*Check out Vespers by Louise Gluck who just won the Nobel Peace Prize for Literature. I was not familiar with her work, and this piece from The Jesuit Review provided a beautiful introduction.
*Our young adult facilitator recommended this TED talk for our Cyber 787 group as well and it really spoke to me this week. Like many, my pandemic life is a constantly moving target, and remembering the importance of Embracing the Near Win helped encourage me through the week and remember to take pride and joy in process.
*This SNL skit made my week. *Laughter: On good days, it’s the icing on every homeschooling parent’s cake. This little guy took a genius approach to his math: watch it on loop here because his laugh gets me every time!
That’s all wonderful people! Rest well and have a lovely fall weekend.
Grace and peace,