“I don’t want to talk about politics, I don’t want to talk about the pandemic, and I certainly don’t want to chat about Church!” With this as the opening statement from a long time colleague, I responded with, “What WOULD you like to talk about?” There was complete silence on the other end of the phone. Then an audible sigh proceeded the measured words, “I’m just so weary.”
For many, this moment in time feels exhaustingly overwhelming. The present scaffolding of the world feels as if it is made up of divisive politics, an endless pandemic, and great strife over centuries of racial inequity and injustice. The frame of reality that has held it and most of us together feels as if it is teetering at best, and at worst it appears to be on the verge of complete collapse. And yet we often find ourselves clinging to what still is, to what is familiar. As a person who has ridden out more than one earthquake, it is both overwhelming and exhausting to hold on to something that is truly completely unstable.
When I find myself in this place one of my favorite prayers comes from Guerrillas of Grace:
Help me to make beginnings: to begin going out of my weary mind into fresh dreams, daring to make my own bold tracks in the land of now; to begin forgiving that I may experience mercy; to begin questioning the unquestionable that I may know truth to begin disciplining that I may create beauty; to begin sacrificing that I may make peace; to begin loving that I may realize joy.
The proverbial challenge when we are in an unstable structure is to not be consumed by it. Our natural tendency is to become completely myopic. In the words of this prayer, those of every prophet and the Way of Jesus, is the invitation to look to the horizon. (In fact it is leadership 101: identify reality and then begin to create a vision of the future.) Dream fresh dreams, imagine a new reality, begin to make beginnings – this is the path that will lead not only to a new perspective on the world, but more importantly to new life.