“In any dark time, there is a tendency to veer toward fainting over how much is wrong and unmended in the world.
Do not focus on that. There is a tendency, too, to fall into being weakened by dwelling on what’s outside your reach,
by what cannot yet be. Do not focus there. That is spending the wind without raising the sails.
“Ours is not the task of fixing the entire world all at once, but of stretching out to mend the part of the world that
is within our reach. Any small, calm thing that one soul can do to help another soul, to assist some portion
of this poor suffering world, will help immensely. It is not given to us to know which acts or by whom, will cause
the critical mass to tip toward enduring good.”
~ Clarissa Pinkola Estes
Some of us may consider ourselves “Institutional Pilgrims.” We’ve done this season of Lent before, some of us would say that we’ve done this Lenten journey our whole lives. We have walked this lonesome valley, we’ve prayed these prayers, we’ve practiced these rituals. Some would even venture to say “we know how this turns out four or five weeks from now.” But, what if we haven’t? Seriously, what if we haven’t done this before?
We are living in a time that most of us could never have dreamed of. Day in and day out we are living with a new normal that is anything but normal, and living through days that feel flat out wrong. Our faith in our institutions is crumbling before our eyes. For those of us still able to watch or listen to the news, there seems to be little hope on the horizon. These are mean-spirited times for us, especially if you are one or if you care about someone who is living outside on the margins. Our children are speaking to power in ways that feel new and tender / strong. It is here that we find our wandering spirits.
What brings you to these mending days? Are you continuing to engage with your sisters and brothers? Are you continuing to practice random kindness and senseless acts of beauty? Are you continuing to work toward the best of who we are created to be? Are you continuing to live into the spirit of the gospel’s message?
What, then is to be our focus? For our sister, Clarissa it begins with our naming - each one of us naming and claiming the fact that we are needed. There is heavy lifting to be done all around us and there is no time like the present. Here, as we move in and through these wilderness days, may we take Clarrisa’s words to heart. May we commit to being about the work of mending. May we commit to focusing on the hurting ones and the broken places that are within our reach. Small acts. Kind words. Beauty re-claimed. Left foot, right foot.
It matters like it’s never mattered before. We are, each one of us called to go out in joy with purpose and with focus. We are seeking peace - for all of us, for each of us. Each day. This day.
Working in Family Experience at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta, Lesley is an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ. She and her partner, Linda Ellis are raising their two sons, Brogan (now a freshman at Guilford College) and Sam at sophomore at DHS in Decatur, GA.