Living In Uncomfortable Places
by Amanda Petersen
Last week I highlighted staying in uncomfortable places. In the midst of this political season, and events both far and near, we don’t have far to go to practice staying in these places. The question is, how do we stay without falling in hopelessness or wanting to run away? What I have noticed is the call to want to do something to make it feel better. What if you can’t? How do you make hate, environmental disaster, or divided people into a manageable situation?
To begin with, one must change the question. Our brains and egos want to make all pain better so the questions tend to revolve around that. The reality is that in many situations there is no fixing some pain. So why even get involved? Instead of asking, “How do I make it better?” try asking, “How am I called to love?” When there is love, one can stand in places they never dreamed. The thought of sitting vigil while someone dies may sound overwhelming until it is someone you love. Then you are willing to sit and be. When love is the connection, we will go into these places and sit with the reality and the tension of not being able to solve it. The movement then becomes standing as a witness to the pain, in love.
Still, it is helpful to have something tangible as a symbol of love. This can be a word, a listening ear, just being kind or donating goods needed. I would like to highlight the gift of anointing. Often seen as something only ordained or trained people do, it is truly something anyone can give to another. Especially during times of deep pain where someone is suffering or they are on the opposite side of an issue. The act of touch, scent, and words of blessing, healing, and love creates a deep and unexpected space that allows everyone to stay in the pain and realize they are not alone. This Saturday, Michelle Jereb is leading a workshop on the gift of scent and touch and prayer or blessing in seasons of both pain and joy. This is an important workshop for those who want to learn more about staying in the uncomfortable as well as how to stay in blessing. It’s not too late to sign up, yet space is limited. Take a moment and check it out.
This week how are you being invited to answer the question “How am I called to love in this situation?” How does it help you stay in the uncomfortable?