By Amanda Petersen
I have sat with many people this past week, sitting in the reality of the election. As I have contemplated this, a couple of thoughts rise. One is the importance of taking the time to grieve the loss of not just a personal idea, but the idea of who and where the United States stands. To also sit in the midst of division and fear. This isn’t done overnight and it is a huge part of any journey of faith. Sitting not in the dream, but in the reality that as much as one can be filled with peace and hope and striving for justice, one can also be filled with hate, ignorance, and fear. Both exist. This is evident in scripture and all throughout history. It is evident around the world. Both are real: love and fear. Living in the grief that this is true and may always be true is important. The reason it is so important is it is from the place of reality that one can more forward. What if the goal isn’t to wipe out fear, but to be love? What if fear isn’t the other, but just is, and a reality we need to sit in everyday? How do we stand up for Love in a world where fear and ugly fear exists? A world where we can’t rely on the powers that be to be Love but also are motivated by fear?
The question then moves from making someone the “other” which spiritually speaking is the death of Love to “Who do I want to be?” or “Who am I?” That is a powerful spiritual question. Jesus answered that. Many people in history that have brought deep love to extreme fear have answered that. We need to answer this every day. To wake up each morning and ask today am I fear or Love?
Yet first comes the grief. I know for myself, this week has made me even more passionate about my work with Pathways of Grace. Having a place to listen deeply beyond the noise and fear of the world and ask “Where am I? Who am I?” A safe place to grieve and vent and love. A place for us to gather and just listen to ourselves, to others, and to God. This is important because it takes a lot of work to show up to reality and be love. I firmly believe this can’t be done alone. We need safe communities to also listen and be honest, to weep with and encourage and sometimes to just sit in silence because words aren’t enough. To learn to see beyond the fear, beyond the other, to the amazing call to live Love in a world that is full of anger and hate. Please know we are here for you to do the same. We have amazing people to meet with you one-on-one if you would like. I am not promoting Pathways of Grace as much as the idea of showing up to wherever you are in life. We are one place in which to do that. My prayer is that this week you also find someplace to listen deeply to your grief, to Love, and each other.