Wide Awake

Yesterday, the day after the election, many people I encountered were full of emotion and wondering for a myriad of reasons. At lunch, a colleague wondered aloud how she could live through what seemed like a dream.  A student in class was lamenting that she’d just lost two friends over the events of the past day. On my drive to work, I listened to a lady say that this morning she was “wide awake” to difficult realities in the world and her own response. Being “wide awake” is a good way to describe the intentional ways we love, especially those who are most challenging to us.

Alive with synchronicity, I read these words from Buechner’s book Listening to Your Life  on this day.

Matthew the tax collector and Thomas the doubter. Peter the Rock and Judas the traitor. Mary Magdalene and Lazarus’s sister Martha. And the popcorn-eating old woman. And the fat man in the pick-up. They are all our family, and you and I are their family and each other’s family, because that is what Jesus has called us as the Church to be. Our happiness is all mixed up with each other’s happiness and our peace with each other’s peace. Our own happiness, our own peace, can never be complete until we find some way of sharing it with people who the way things are now have no happiness and know no peace. Jesus calls us to show this truth forth, live this truth forth. Be the light of the world, he says. Where there are dark places, be the light especially there. Be the salt of the earth. Bring out the true flavor of what it is to be alive truly. Be truly alive. Be life-givers to others. That is what Jesus tells the disciples to be. That is what Jesus tells his Church, tells us, to be and do. Love each other. Heal the sick, he says. Raise the dead. Cleanse lepers. Cast out demons. That is what loving each other means. If the Church is doing things like that, then it is being what Jesus told it to be. If it is not doing things like that – no matter how many other good and useful things it may be doing instead—then it is not being what Jesus told it to be. It is as simple as that.

In his  book Let Your Life Speak, Parker Palmer says that the world needs people with the patience and the passion to make the pilgrimage toward our authentic vocation, cultivating God’s truth, not only for our own sake but also as a social and political act.

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