Finding Our Way Through the Dark

I didn’t post last month. All the cultural events at once seemed to be too much. I needed to sit with all the feelings that were running through my head and my heart and let them sink in. In times of trouble and uncertainty, we can find ourselves in a place of darkness and despair. Questions arise such as, when will all this craziness end? How long will we be dealing with this? How will we ever get through it? What will happen next?

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.                                                                                               Martin Luther King

We are finding as a culture that we are facing so much more than we could ever imagine. It’s difficult to even fathom that we are dealing with a worldwide pandemic with a record number of deaths, unemployment in staggering numbers, and now protest marches raising awareness of police brutality and the disproportionate number of victims of color along with the Black Lives Matter movement.

It’s during these dark times with this feeling of shifting sand under our feet that we most need to feel solid ground. But when our world is spinning, it’s not always easy to find that stable footing. And, as if in the perfect storm, we were already in a vulnerable place of isolation when new issues began burning, adding to our distress. Due to sheltering at home, many of us were already isolated and lonely, missing loved ones, the warmth of touch and hugs, and for many, the torture of being without other human beings and acquaintances for companionship. We were flying solo.

Many of us turned to crafts like baking and painting, or hobbies like puzzles or gardening, new creative expression arose as we learned to amuse ourselves at home. When we are in times of darkness we sometimes find our resilience, or ability to raise ourselves up and try new ways of being in the world. So, when looking at the macro level of these issues with a larger scope, how do we navigate to find our way through the dark, to grow and bounce back with a cultural resilience?

Certainly, we are seeing an uptake in interest to learn more about the black experience, the Black Lives Matter movement. I’m noticing new and authentic conversations with people of color. There are currently many helpful discussions happening as people of privilege struggle to understand their position and experience. The conversation has shifted as we try to truly understand racism on many levels and what it means to be anti-racist. I’m learning that white progressives are possibly the most dangerous with our lack of knowledge and education on this topic,  yet insistence that we are not racist. It’s humbling to learn how to be better in the face of ignorance and white fragility. (Yes, I’m currently reading “White Fragility” by Robin DiAngelo.) I’m hoping to be open and listen for what I need to learn. I’m hearing new voices and new ideas as I expand my own horizons and knowledge base. We need to listen to each other for we are all truly connected. When my brother is hurt, it hurts me, as well.

Can we come through all these things with improved spirits to propel the culture to a new level? I believe we can if we put forth the effort. What makes a survivor? I believe it’s willingness to do the work, to listen, to be open to grow, to change, and to learn new ways. It often seems that at some point we can look back and see how events shaped the path  that seemed nearly insurmountable at one time. If enough of us are in the struggle together, I believe there will be a cultural shift, a new light will shine through the dark and illuminate the way forward. We just each need to do our part for the whole.

And all shall be well in time.

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