Keeping Vigil…

 In Reflections

“Learning to weep, learning to keep vigil, learning to wait for the dawn. Perhaps this is what it means to be human.”  —Henri Nouwen

Sometimes all we can do is keep vigil. Keep watch and keep praying in the dark of the night when the world feels most vulnerable.

With the attacks in Israel added to the war in Ukraine, the insanity in our government, and tension at the border, it feels like one of those times.

Preparing for an event on the healing power of joy this Saturday, I’ve been reminded that this is also the perfect time to keep vigil for moments of joy to dispel fear and open us to hope and awareness of how we can make a difference.

Henri Nouwen speaks of “learning” to weep, keep vigil, and wait for the dawn in the quote above. Perhaps that is the way forward for each of us as we bear witness to the suffering around us and keep vigilant for signs of hope, joy, and peace.

“Better to light one small candle than to curse the darkness.”
—Chinese Proverb
To light a candle seems like such a trite step. Yet, what if by lighting a candle we make a powerful statement that affirms our trust (or at least hope) that the way will be shown, the dawn will come, and our choice to be part of that future?
“Our lives are fashioned by our choices. First, we make our choices. Then our choices make us.”
—Anne Frank
Please join us tonight (or whenever you can) in lighting a candle and praying for peaceful solutions to conflicts in the world, with each other, and in our hearts.May you be blessed with a peaceful heart and send out that peace into our world tonight.

The Love of People

“To feel the love of people whom we love is a fire that feeds our life. But to feel the affection that comes from those whom we do not know…is something still greater and more beautiful…”
―Pablo Neruda

Joy & Sorrow

“Joy and sorrow are sisters. They live in the same house.”
―Macrina Wiederkehr

Be Surprised

“I would say about individuals, an Individual dies when they cease to be surprised. I am surprised every morning when I see the sunshine again. When I see an act of evil I don’t accommodate, I don’t accommodate myself to the violence that goes on everywhere. I am still so surprised! That is why I am against it. We must learn to be surprised.” ― Abraham Joshua Heschel

Blessing When the World is Ending

Look, the world
is always ending

the sun has come
crashing down.

it has gone
completely dark.

it has ended
with the gun
the knife
the fist.

it has ended
with the slammed door
the shattered hope.

it has ended
with the utter quiet
that follows the news
from the phone
the television
the hospital room.

it has ended
with a tenderness
that will break
your heart.

But, listen,
this blessing means
to be anything
but morose.
It has not come
to cause despair.

It is simply here
because there is nothing
a blessing
is better suited for
than an ending,
nothing that cries out more
for a blessing
than when a world
is falling apart.

This blessing
will not fix you
will not mend you
will not give you
false comfort;
it will not talk to you
about one door opening
when another one closes.

It will simply
sit itself beside you
among the shards
and gently turn your face
toward the direction
from which the light
will come,
gathering itself
about you
as the world begins

—Jan Richardson, Circle of Grace (link takes you to Jan’s website)

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