There are moments when it feels like nothing is ever going to get better. We get swept under by news about war, economic collapse or some other human atrocity that dulls our spirit and makes us want to pull back from humanity for a while. Some days, every story seems like a sad story with a bad ending. Being in the midst of election and voting season rarely helps lift a mood like this. Apathy can sometimes seem like a better choice than having one’s heart broken again and again and again. We’re not the first generation to have to deal with this problem. We won’t be the last.
It’s easy to forget that we have some choices in all of this. It’s easy to forget that we can choose to participate in cycles of peacemaking. It’s easy to forget that we can choose to make things better for others and ourselves. It’s easy to forget that we can choose to speak out, act up and get involved in life and the living of it in a way that can reverse what feels like tides of hopeless inevitability. It’s easy to forget that we can choose love and we can choose truth and that these forces will save our souls and our lives.
We can choose to change things. We are not bound to traditional values, behavior and beliefs as though something being “traditional” somehow naturally makes it “good.” Slavery is traditional in many places. The subjugation of women is, too. The fact these practices are traditional do not make them good. We can, have, and must continue to chose differently.
When we do, I believe the Spirit moves between us and among us and then moves us along. We are, after all, not simply passive victims of an unfolding destiny but participate in in the creation of history. We participate in the creation of hope. We participate in the creation of justice. When we participate in these things, we find ourselves among a great cloud of witness. We are together with those who sought to end slavery. We are together with those who helped organize oppressed workers. We are together with those who feed those without food and work to make sure that others never have to hungry, again. We look all around us and in the midst of the multitude we see Jesus and Gandhi and Dorothy Day and Martin Luther King and John Brown and Mother Jones and Cesar Chavez and, and, and… We join with a much larger movement that helps drive the positive moving of peoples and systems; occasional resistance to governments and companies; and the over turning of traditions and practices that have had their cruelty exposed.
If Washington State votes in favor of marriage equality this month by approving Referendum 74, I really do believe that cloud of witnesses will clap and cheer and that the Spirit will dance. I am so thankful that we have the opportunity to participate in the creation of this moment; this celebration of history, hope and justice; this celebration of life; this celebration of love.