“…the perfection of virtue is born in struggle.” Meister Eckhart
I guess it would be superfluous to say that, in January 2021, America finds herself deep in the muck of national despair and disillusionment. The triple threat of pandemic, economy, and politics has ignited vitriol, violence, and despair.
Some Americans actively and vehemently engage in protecting their deeply held understanding of their “rights,” (except “rights’ are not agreed upon). And yet other Americans, most likely the majority, only desire peaceful resolution.
A National Dark Night of the Soul
What we have here is a national “Dark Night of the Soul.” The turmoil of the 60’s and early 70’s does not even compare. Never in my 7 decades have I witnessed an epoch like we face today. As I ponder and pray about our beloved nation, I find myself in fear of falling off the edge of what feels like a flat Earth.
However, as individuals, we have options. Obviously, we can retreat or we can battle, but I find neither option satisfactory. Instead, I am taking this time to examine my Ultimate Beliefs. I’ve realized that my choices for dealing with these times will certainly betray my core internal character.
What Can I Learn
I agree with Meister Eckhart, “The perfection of my character is born in struggle.” We all agree that we learn most about who we are from challenges we have faced. Okay, so what can I learn? On a human scale, I can learn even more about open-mindedness and compassion. And, I learn most certainly that I can be wrong, often.
And therein lies the challenge: Am I willing to set aside some of my personal needs for the good of the whole? A habit much easier to say than to do. Still, I am called to try.
In a podcast a few days ago with my friend Rev. Terry Hershey, Terry suggested to me that our only hope lies in the application of a biblical tradition called Grace. Grace is that place where we set aside hostilities and bitternesses in lieu of peace and openness. In the historical tradition of Christianity, grace remains a key distinctive of the character of the Divine. Often interpreted as “unmerited favor,” it is neither punitive nor retaliatory.
Grace: A Light Shining in the Darkness
In this time of darkness, a light can emerge… but only when we let go of notions of self-righteousness and a fear-induced need for power and control. In “Grace Land” power, control, and retribution are non-existent. Grace is a respite in the fray.
Grace is the land I seek. Grace is the land I wish to dwell. Equally important, Grace is the land I invite other broken survivors to join me.
In other words, Grace is the land not just for me; it is land of hope, of rest, and of peace for all of us bordering on hopelessness. Grace is a place where upon arrival, those of us already there might say, “Welcome to my neighborhood!”
Grace Brings Hope
When Hope Feels Lost
Photo courtesy of ipopba at istockphoto
4 thoughts on “An Invitation to “Grace” Land”
Thank you Charlie. Your comments spoke to me. Your words described my mood, my feelings, and my emotions. You did so better than I could’ve described them myself. I am a hopeful person by nature but I have to admit the past 10 months has really strained my patience for hope to emerge. The pandemic has been like nothing I’ve ever experienced but I have faith in science to overcome this challenge. The pandemic makes me feel fearful of the power of nature but I do not despair over this. We will overcome because we have the the intelligence and the will to overcome. The nature of our national debate on politics causes me greater concern. I’m an optimist so I believe that good Will prevail over evil. Throughout my life, I’ve seen a lot of strife and division and the pain caused by both. The last four years, in particular the run up to the election and the events since the election, Have caused me to question my assumption that Americans have a deep abiding love for the principles of our democracy that will bring us together even if and when we disagree. I have never experienced such discord and vitriol as I have over the last few years during the time of this administration. I search for Hope and I believe in hope but it’s been difficult. Your message today ignited that glimmer of hope in my heart and in my brain.. Your description of grace gives me hope. I agree that Grace is a place where hope can be found where hope feels lost. it’s the same message of hope that Saint Francis Shared in his words that God is the light in the darkness.
My dear Tom. I am with you friend. I choose to believe that most Americans feel the same. The radicals make the news and their absurd actions disturb us all. I put my trust in the God of St Francis and in the Christ to which he was united. I have no where else to turn. Politicians and politicos only offer confusion. Grace and faith offer glimmers of hope. I’ll take that any day.
May the peace you seek find you and give you respite. Blessings. Charlie
You’ve done it again, Charlie. Awesome stuff to consider. Have a great day like I know you will.
So very kind Randy. Thank you!