Monday, December 1, 2014

Blessed are the uncomfortable. . .

It's been a bumpy kind of ride lately - lots of things bumping into each other - ideas and events bouncing off each other like logs traveling downstream to the mill,

Shortly after I wrote my last post, a member of one of my on-line professional groups posted a rant to our network Facebook page. I can't find the original post but what stuck out to me was along the lines of "I am so sick and tired of people referring to their STUFF as blessings; as if God gave us more STUFF because we are so special. Jesus said blessed are the poor in spirit, blessed are the meek, blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness. . ."  It hit me right between the eyes, just as Thanksgiving approached and I was counting my blessings at the same time I bemoaned my inadequate holiday savings .

Then the Grand Jury delcined to indict the policeman in Ferguson and protests quickly escalated into riots. I didn't, and still don't know what to think or say or do about the huge and overwhelming issue of racism in my country, but I felt as if I should say SOMETHING. Dr. King's words haunt me: "The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy." And equally disturbing are these words from Edmund Burke: "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing." I am not in any way condemning the decision made; I am just deeply troubled that racial divides remain so deep 50 years after the passage of the Civil Rights Act.

Then, fortuitously, I bumped into this blessing of unknown origin but attributed to St. Francis:
May God bless you with discomfort at easy answers, half-truths, and superficial relationships, so that you may live deep within your heart.
May God bless you with anger at injustice, oppression, and exploitation of people, so that you may work for justice, freedom, and peace.
May God bless you with tears to shed for those who suffer from pain, rejection, starvation and war, so that you may reach out your hand to comfort them and to turn their pain to joy.
May God bless you with enough foolishness to believe that you can make a difference in this world. so that you can do what others claim cannot be done.
And the blessing of God, who creates, Redeems, and Sanctifies, be upon you and all you love and pray for this day, and for evermore. Amen.
So, as Thanksgiving weekend ends, and I bid my happy and contented holiday feelings farewell and find myself tempted by the drama of self-pity as the family scatters again, I will instead give thanks for my discomfort, anger, sadness and foolish dreams. These are true blessings, and eventually I will know how to channel them. Onward through the fog - as they say 1100 Miles South!