For more than half of the voting public of these United States, it has been a rough week. My FB page is filled with disbelief, tears, rage, and horror expressed from across the nation— folks who are somewhere between uncomfortable or outright afraid.
I’ve read too much already. Said too much already about this election. I went from a sleepless Tuesday, to a tearful Wednesday, to an angry Thursday and a numb Friday. By Saturday I felt like those drivers who slow down to see the crash…I just couldn’t stop watching, listening. I woke up for the 5th night in a row at 2:00 a.m. staring at the ceiling, my mind racing. And I thought to myself, "think of something beautiful. Picture something beautiful."
So this is sad, but for the longest time I couldn’t. I couldn’t pull up an image in my mind of one sunrise or sunset. I couldn’t find image of (one of all the photo’s I’ve taken) trees, or paths or birds. As I laid there I could name those things that were beautiful to me, but couldn’t make the neuropathways work to give me an image. By now it was no longer sad, but scary.
Only slowly a gate came to mind [we can do the Freudian interpretation some other time.] A particular gate that I took a photograph of in 2011 at Holy Cross Monastery in Rostrevor, Northern Ireland. Those who know me well, will already know that Holy Cross is a Benedictine Monastery founded for the express purpose of reconciliation. Somewhere deep inside, my subconscious chose this image in which I could seek refuge in which there was beauty.
So while I went through some pretty average stages of grief this week… from anger to lamenting to anger and back again…I knew it could not continue. My spirit, as Spirit is wont to do said “enough is enough--move on--more specifically, move through the gate."
My righteous anger will still lead me in things to do to combat the barbarianisms of the president elect we saw and heard over the past 18 months. I shall still work to do justice (for all), love mercy (for all) and walk humbly with my God hand in hand with indigenous people, migrant workers, the LBGTQ community, Muslims, sisters and anyone else marginalized.
But it’s time for me to walk through the gate; leaving all that is past behind and reaching toward the goal. What that means is that I will take control of myself and react in another way when the tears flow and the rage erupts. Instead of jumping on the bandwagon, I will look for something beautiful, something pleasing, something kind and generous to offer instead of more anger and hate.
It’s time for me to walk through the gate; to at least (hopefully) demonstrate that it's possible. No one said easy, but possible. I’ll walk through the gate given to me twice now at low moments in my life—and allow it to remind me that this is a new moment...now this is…now this is… and I have a choice in how to approach each new moment. Okay, I’m not perfect. It’s likely some idiot will post something bogus on FB and I’ll be compelled to reply. I want to apologize in advance.
Yet it is time for me to walk through the gate. And I invite you to find your own image or metaphor and to hold onto it too. I'll begin on the road to reconciliation by posting one beautiful thing each day on the FB page of Peace River Spirituality Center and Sanctuary House of Sarasota. That way, something other than disgust will sprinkle through folks newsfeeds and minds. Offering beauty is a start to a new ending.
If you are not ready to move towards your deep, unflappable center right now, I get it. If you need to be angry and outraged a little longer, I understand. If sadness still has you tightly bound, I’m so sorry for your pain. We all have our own unique rhythm.
But here and now I go through this gate of my memory, that called to me in the darkness. Here I go through this gate of my memory, that beckoned me to its silent beauty. Here I go through this gate of my memory, that reminded me reconciliation is possible… and invited me to accept it so that I might turn back and extend a hand from the unfolding place of my own healing.
Thanks for listening to my story. It would be my privilege to hear yours.
In the peace of the Lamb,
Kathleen Bronagh Weller
THE CELTIC MONK