Day 309 | Friday, January 22, 2021
From the Church Mouse
I am pleased to be back with you. I felt that it was important that there be continuity through the blessed Christmas season until 12th night, so the Woodlands Shepherd walked beside you during that time. Then came January 6th. There was no question in my mind that he had to continue on a while longer until after the inauguration of President Biden. I needed his wisdom and maybe you did too.
Today I wanted to share with you my thoughts on our process of living through the unprecedented events of the last several weeks. In my line of work, I have seen three kinds of responses to such stressors. The first is the molten response: molten anger that wants retribution and revenge. Such brings no justice to anyone or for anyone. The second is the ostrich effect: Don’t talk to me about this; don’t mention this to me; I just want to pretend this isn’t happening. Such prevents learning from the event and prevents any positive changes that may move us forward toward a more perfect union. The third is the activist response: I have to do something about this; If I don’t do anything, nothing will change for the better; If I don’t contribute and nothing changes for the better, am I complicit in the on-going inequity?
Many, many years ago, when I was barely out of my 20s, I was part of the Recreation Committee for my town. We designed such things as children and adult team sports, playground equipment, and seasonal recreation opportunities. On our committee was a woman, older than I, from Austria. In one meeting, she began to denigrate one of our boys’ soccer coaches who happened to be Jewish. I don’t remember her point, but I have remembered my reaction my entire life. Although she used the most egregious epithets imaginable, I sat there …..wordless. I have been ashamed of that inaction my whole life.
You see, what the last few unprecedented weeks’ events have taught me is that I am an activist. Most of my life, I have been in a position where if I expressed an unwelcome opinion, it would bring social retribution to me or someone I loved, so I remained silent, and took the safe route. What has caused me to step out of my comfort zone to do something…..something for the greater good, was MLK. Martin Luther King Jr., whose day we celebrated this past Monday, said the following: “Cowardice asks the question, ‘Is it safe?’ Expediency asks the question, ‘Is it polite?’ Vanity asks the question, ‘Is it popular?’ But conscience asks the question, ‘Is it right?’. And there are times when you must take a stand that is neither safe nor politic nor popular, but you must do it because it is right.” MLK: May 10, 1967
Remembering his words took me back to that committee meeting and to my shame. That shame and watching the events of January 6th, 2021 brought to this decision: I will act to make things better. So….I will be learning how to help people who have never voted to register to vote in our very next election. The remaining time of social distancing will give me time to gather information, establish helpful contacts and learn how to do this successfully. I will be reaching out to my friends to create a cadre of women who will do this during the day. In my mind I’m calling us the “Day Shift”.
If anyone is interested in this outreach, let me know. I’ll keep you informed from time to time to let you know how things are progressing. In one of the Rev.’s last lessons were words that I paraphrase here for my prayer: Dear God, May I, as your daughter, evaluate change wisely, and when I perceive your presence in it, help me to welcome the new, embrace the different and move forward in the great expectation that all things work together for good for those who love God.
Rev. Douglas M. Knopp has always said to all his churches: “I don’t have to be successful….only faithful”. I will keep that in my mind if there are doors slammed in my face.