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A little reminder for all of us going through tough times.  This week we are cleaning out my father’s house.  And I’m writing a book.  And the kids are on Spring Break.  When it rains, it pours.  –SueBE

Lent – the dawning light.

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Something to keep in mind during Lent.

Faith isn’t easy but what worth having or doing is? merton

I think we can all agree, stress is a huge part of our day to day lives right now. Whether you’re on Facebook or Twitter or wherever else, all anyone is talking about is politics.  And they aren’t just talking. They’re arguing and name call and bickering.  It’s a lot like being a gibbon near the chimpanzees that Lori wrote about in her post. You’re just hoping that you aren’t the one they decide to tear apart.  It is exhausting.

Or it can be.

This week a friend commented that I don’t seem quite as strung out as everyone else. “What are you doing?” she asked.

Honestly, it is a very legitimate question.  I am, to put it kindly, a wee bit high strung.  Being around people who are stressed out really puts me on edge. Even a calm crowd gets on my nerves. What’s my secret?

I’m disconnecting. I’m not going to go so far as to shut down my Facebook account or go off Twitter.  But I only check Twitter once each morning and again around noon.  That’s it.  It means I don’t see every tweet but that’s okay. I’m surebookshelf I’m missing some great knitting and book news but I can only take so much of the angst.
I’m nesting.  Not in the “I’m about to deliver sense” but that’s what my husband calls it when I clean out, reorganize and redecorate.  No redecorating yet but I’ve dug out a set of shelves in the basement and now I’m cleaning them off. I’m also sorting and recycling here in my office.  One entire shelf was cleaned off and I now have a place for my Star Wars chest (yes, I’m that geeky) and my library books (again, geeky but all is good).

norwichWith this extra time in this renewed space, I’m praying.  Granted I’m not praying as much as I should – 24/7 seems pretty reasonable all things considered – but I am praying.  In part, I’m doing that by focusing on a particular prayer.  This week my focus was a prayer from Julian of Norwich.

“All shall be well and all shall be well and all manner of things shall be well.”

When I pray this or any of my other favorites, it orients me toward God.  When I’m facing God, I’m not obsessing about what whoever said, what is and isn’t truth, and who may or may not be about to do what.  I’m focusing on God.

“All shall be well and all shall be well and all manner of things shall be well.”

Disconnect. “All shall be well…”

Nest. “. . . and all shall be well . . .”

Pray. “… and all manner of things shall be well.”

It may not be the right combination for everyone but it is the combination that’s working for me.

–SueBE

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sagan

kennedy-human-spiit

tower-of-babelThis week, I got a message from someone I knew growing up.  He was one of the “grown ups” at church when we started going there.  I had sent him a friend request on Facebook.  His message sounded a little ominous.  “I’m politically conservative and state my opinions respectfully. Do you still want to be friends?”

Um . . . what? Somehow I felt like I was getting a warning.  Look out!

But then it hit me. He’s was wondering if I was going to be an unholy brat if he disagreed with me. Frankly, I understood why he felt the need to ask.  Let’s face it.  It’s pretty obvious that I’m an unapologetic liberal. And liberals are not looking like a kinder, gentler people lately. We’ve been engaging in a lot of name calling like when CNN reporter Marc Lamont Hill called Bruce LeVell, a member of Trump’s diversity team, one of a group of mediocre Negroes.

This kind of name calling isn’t meant to start a dialogue.  It isn’t going to solve a problem.  It is simply designed to shut . . . someone . . . down.

For another example, have you heard about the controversy surrounding Veronica Roth’s latest young adult novel, Carve the Mark?  One group of people in this fantasy is described as savage, brown and nomadic. I haven’t read the book so I’m taking someone else’s word for that. Those criticizing Roth claim these baddies are another example of demonizing brown people.

Not everyone agrees. Some of her fellow authors believe that Roth has a diverse population of characters and not all “bad guys” are brown, not all “good guys” are white. One of these authors is Sabaa Tahir who was criticized for not falling in line. One commenter berated Tahir questioning whether or not she knows what racism is. Tahir kindly explained just how completely she understands racism, citing numerous racist acts perpetrated against her. She also challenged the notion that minority authors must speak as one, that they cannot have their own opinions, and that there cannot be a dialogue.

Dialogue is a rare commodity in our society.  It is almost like we are creating our own Tower of Babel. How? We seem to have the notion that if someone doesn’t agree with you 100%, you don’t need to listen to them, you don’t need to talk to them, and you can get by with calling them every name in the book.

We support this behavior although name calling creates a divide.  We condone this kind of public criticism although it doesn’t solve any problem.  It is just an attempt to beat someone down.

Seriously, people. We cannot solve problems as Christians as until we are willing to discuss things with people who don’t think exactly like we think.  We have to be willing to listen to people who disagree with us. And it isn’t going to be easy.  Bad habits are hard to break.

But I saw an interview today about how to get it done. Rev. William Barber challenges people to quit using the labels that commonly color our political discourse. We aren’t left and right, black and white, Republican and Democrat, or liberal and conservative.  We are people coming together to address an issue.

The issue takes the floor.

But for this to happen, we have to be willing to step away from the Tower of Babel. We have to be willing to stop the name calling even if we’re just labeling ourselves liberal or conservative.  We have to want to renew our ability to communicate. And to do that, we have to listen.

Can you hear me?

–SueBE

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