Last week, I shared that this was going to be a difficult week for our country. I was blissfully unaware of how difficult our election results were going to be for me.
For many years, I have focused my energy around my own sphere of influence. I try to work with the people in front of me and worry less about the world or the nation or even the state. This seems to be the most effective, most efficient use of my time and energy–working on my own life and the lives of those around me to create a world more like God wants.
We all have bubbles that we live in. Mine is one where most people are striving to be better people, many of us listening for God’s guidance and doing our best to be God’s hands and feet in this world. My bubble is mostly made up of people of faith, where “love of neighbor” takes center stage. We stay home–and wear masks when we must leave–in order to keep COVID from spreading to others. My bubble is mostly white, and many of us are waking up more and more to the realities of systemic racism. We are doing hard work to understand our role in it, to change our patterns of belief and behavior, and encourage others to do their own work. My bubble is one where we are mostly safe most of the time (which gives us so much privilege)… where keeping people safe is more important than making more money…where we share out of our abundance.
And so, I was heartbroken anew this week when the stark reality of the world outside my bubble encroached. When the reality hit that SO VERY MANY people who worship the same God I do want our country to go on like it has these past four years. I simply don’t understand how anyone can read the Gospels and find in them a Jesus who is OK with the way things are in our world. The enormity of it is too much. My life feels futile. My vocation feels futile. I wallowed for a while.
And now, I’m beginning to incorporate this momentary glimpse of larger reality into my understanding. Now, I’m beginning to put myself together again. Now, I’m reigning in all my energy that ineffectually rails against the larger society. I am coming back to myself, to my friends and family and colleagues and congregation. I am coming back to studying the life of Jesus, and doing my best to follow the path he began. I want to use my energy to support you in doing the same.
If I am able to follow Jesus more closely, and if I am able to help someone else more faithfully follow Jesus, then I have spent my energy well. I can’t fix the world. So I’m going to work on fixing me, and offering support to you.