Holding Out Our Hands

“Don't forget: hold somebody's hand through the dark.”

― Joy Harjo, Conflict Resolution for Holy Beings: Poems

Photo of purple Azalea in bloomAs I write this, it is a beautiful spring day. The sun is out, a woodpecker is hopping down a branch of our Witness Tree, a squirrel is running up and down it’s trunk, the azalea outside my office window is blooming.  It is good to look up from the computer and just take in Life.

It’s easy to forget to lift our eyes… especially when we are really busy, or overwhelmed with life or family, or feeling oppressed by the constant barrage of grim news about our democracy and the world. Just this week there’s been more grand jury indictments of top political figures including those still holding tremendous power, the Supreme Court deciding whether or not ER and other doctors can actually treat women who are pregnant or if they must ignore them until they are dying, a hostage video of severely injured 24 year old Israeli-American Hersh Goldberg-Polin who has been held for 201+ days in Gaza while the Israeli military campaign there continues, and more.

Some of you may remember that during Sunday services in the past we’ve considered ways of responding to unethical situations or human rights issues.  One response is to block one’s ears, ignore it all, and perhaps simply leave the scene (or if you have money- the country.)  One way is to ball up your fists and fight, resorting to force or violence.  A third way is to stay engaged, to clearly say “Stop!”- and hold the line, establish a boundary- while also holding out one’s hand, inviting the “other” to join you. This last option is the way of active non-violence.

How do we, as a congregation and as individuals, stay engaged, hold the line on our values and create boundaries that protect our own mental health AND the worth and dignity of every person? How often do we hold out our hands and invite others to join us? How often do we look up to just take in Life? These are forever questions. We never answer them once and for all but day by day, week by week, year by year.

I can assure you that right now, other people you know could use the grounding of a community focused on the gifts of Life but willing to struggle together with all the “hard stuff” we’re facing. Our community is grounded in communal practices, a set of ethical principles and the shared values of interdependence, equity, transformation, pluralism, generosity, justice and love. (These are the values to be voted on this June as part of a revised “Article II” of the Bylaws of the national Association of UU congregations.)  

We’re not the answer to everything (imagine that!) But if you know people who are feeling overwhelmed or upset, if you know people who want to “do something” or just tune out and run away, invite them to join us. Hold out your hand.

To those who are observing Passover or preparing to celebrate Beltane/May Day, may you find joy in the celebrations!
See you at the Meeting House,
Rev. Lee