Many people marched today. They marched for reasons I completely understand and for reasons I don’t understand. In either case, I honor the rights and desires of all to give voice to something in which they believe so strongly that they would join with others to speak out in this way.
As a former reporter, I understand how precious freedom of speech is and what a great responsibility it is to use our voices to speak truth. I give thanks that we live in a country where we have the right and protection under the law to gather in peace and with passion and to express ourselves. We can speak out against the things that we believe are wrong. We can speak against things that harm and damage other people or creation. We can walk alongside others who share our concerns and with those who seek to facilitate changes that help rather than hurt others. We can unite in times of trouble and times of sorrow. We can come together to celebrate and sing praises of joy for something that is good and right.
Not every person on the planet has such freedoms or rights. We must be very careful with these gifts to treat them with respect and use them for good. How we treat and honor our freedoms matters because they allow us a means of speaking out for ourselves and others with the goal of treating all of Creation with honor, dignity, and respect.
I did not march today. I did not attend a gathering in which I wore a particular colored hat and I did not carry a sign and I did not raise my voice to affirm or protest anything or anyone. But, I did speak today. And, I spoke the truth in love.
Today I attended a small gathering that was planned months ago–before anyone knew the outcome of an election or that there would be marches anywhere for any reason. And, at this gathering I spoke. I stood up as the only female voice in a room of about 20 men, and I shared stories with them that were very personal about my life and my faith. I shared with these good souls things that I do not typically share with others. They were stories I shared because I believed that if I could do that in the safety and sacredness of that space, I might be able to share something that would help them understand something about the love and grace of God from a perspective they do not have–from the perspective of a woman.
They listened. They did not walk out of the room. They stayed with me and they showed me kindness and respect. They prayed for and with me before and after I spoke. I prayed for and with them, too. The prayers will continue. We know we need them. Together we are working as a team to share with others the love and grace we have been given so that those folks can do the same if they choose. We all have the freedom to choose.
One of my favorite verses is Psalm 30:5: “For his anger is but for a moment; his favor is for a lifetime. Weeping may linger for the night, but joy comes with the morning.”
Last night I found myself weeping, wondering how to live in a world that seems so angry, divided, and unwilling to find any space for unity and peace, much less love. Today, I found the joy. I found that joy in the company of people who want to walk in the light. I found it in the care of fellow travelers on a journey of faith.
I pray that each day we all seek to choose paths that lead us to places of joy. I pray that each of us is afforded the respect and dignity we deserve as beloved children of God and that we each strive to show that to everyone we meet on our journeys. I pray that you will know abundant grace and extravagant love for all of your days.
I wish you peace…