All Humanity Included

As a sociology undergrad in Washington, D.C., I learned a lot about protests and civil actions.  And as a participant observer, I canvased communities, conducted surveys, organized protests, marched for causes, and rallied on the steps of the Supreme Court.

As I’ve incorporated this wisdom into ministry, I also have a richer appreciation for the activists who chose paths of peace and non-violence.  Each of these spiritual masters worked daily, faithfully, courageously, diligently, and prayerfully, to create global change and to offer paths of enlightenment to anyone seeking new ways of being and doing.

Overall, one thing is clear: These masters — among them Sojourner Truth, Henry David Thoreau, Dorothea Dix, Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr., Mother Theresa, Nelson Mandela — didn’t seek their own glory.  They acted, grounded in the heart of their faith, for the highest and best, the equity and equality of all humanity.  They focused always on the transformation they sought, rather than on what problems they were against.

If you’re ready to help transform our world for the best of all humanity, please consider these suggestions:

  • Get involved with the interfaith councils in your community.
  • Grow your own spiritual understanding by attending an event, meeting, or worship service completely different from your own.
  • If you don’t currently attend a church, mosque, synagogue, or other spiritual center, consider joining one.  Look for those which honor diversity and affirm the Presence of God, the Divine, in all people.
  • Affiliate with and patronize only those groups or companies, especially local businesses, which respect all people.
  • Listen for “Yes, but . . .” language which is the language of exceptions, excuses, and exclusivity.  Seek people, places, and organizations focused on inclusivity.  Listen for the “Yes” which includes everyone.
  • Choose non-violent, peaceful actions, remembering that they are strong, centered demonstrations of assurance, faith, and power.
  • Refrain from screaming, fighting, or arguing, especially with someone who tries to make your way “wrong,” or engage in theological or political debates.  Instead, consider saying: “I hear that’s what you believe.  I believe this.”  Or, as has happened to me, if someone yells: “I’m praying for your soul,” you might reply: “Thank you.  I appreciate your prayers.”
  • Contact all your city, county, state, and national officials to share your concerns and opinions.  Even if you didn’t vote for them, they’re in office to serve the good of all their constituents, not those of a few.
  • If your current, elected officials aren’t serving as you believe best, support the campaigns of candidates who hold similar values to yours.
  • Remember that even those we dislike are children of God.  Rather than using valuable energy hating them, pray for their enlightenment, knowing that, at any moment, hardened hearts can open and blinded eyes can see.
  • Overall, keep your mind — and heart — open.  Stay prayed up, especially as you discern how to act.  And, to avoid discouragement, celebrate even the smallest of victories, knowing that transformation, for all of us, is happening one step at a time.

© 2018 – Rev. Jennifer L. Sacks.  All rights reserved.

End of a Road

During graduate school, I had a friend who served as both BFF and life-raft.  We often shared coffee after class, discussing lectures, classmates’ literary interpretations, and various life events.

At that time, I enjoyed my friend’s perspective.  She excelled in literary criticism and found fine points in plots and characterization I hadn’t yet noticed.  She also could satirize all the professors and many of our classmates.

Later, when we graduated and began drifting apart, I discovered that I was part of her satire also.  She criticized me, my writing, and my choices.  Where once I felt supported, I began to feel diminished.

One day, I wrote an article I especially liked, and with a few edits, my boss published it.  When I shared it with my friend, she cut it to pieces and said I’d never be a true intellectual or literary scholar.  By then, she was applying to Ph.D. programs, and I realized that we’d reached the end of our road together.  That day, devastated and heart-broken, I began to understand the meaning of being in a relationship for a reason, a season, or with a few people, for a lifetime.

As we travel our life journey, we discover many truths.  Among these, we learn that change happens and relationships end, whether marriage, partnership, friendship, school, or business.

To heal and grow from these passages, we must both acknowledge and mourn them, so we can progress in new, healthier ways for us.  Consider these suggestions for navigating endings in your life now:

  • During your daily contemplation, meditation, prayer, and reflection, choose to remember the blessings, even if only a few, from this experience.
  • Note on paper or tablet, where you can refer to it later, what you appreciate about the relationship and how you’ve grown, especially if the relationship was unhealthy.
  • If you must communicate with an “ex,” strive to connect in emotionally healthy ways which ensure your safety and security.
  • Avoid condemning yourself, the other person, or the relationship. Each relationship is sacred in its own way because of how it shapes us.
  • Avoid attempts to “fix” the other person, repair the relationship, or rehash old arguments. Instead, take care of yourself and all you need to heal and thrive.
  • Rather than rush to fill the void of loss with a new relationship, allow yourself time and space to rest, trusting that new roads already await you.
  • Seek ways to serve others, such as tutoring a child or serving dinner at a soup kitchen, especially if you tend to wallow or mope in sadness.
  • Connect with a spiritual community where you continually are reminded of your worth, your wholeness, and your divinity as one of God’s Beloved Creations.

Overall, remember that the other person, as we are, is a Beloved, Divine Child of God.  And God is always with us and within us as we travel along our next, new roads.

© 2018 – Rev. Jennifer L. Sacks.  All rights reserved.