A question for reflection this past month has been: What consoles me?
Shared regret is exposed when consolation becomes visible. Loss comes into view and comfort comes to sit alongside. The power of being witness to an act of consolation, in itself can take you to a deeper place of compassion for yourself and others. As I traveled through my week I uncovered and unleashed buckets of kindness being poured over me and initiatives I am a part of. I also just witnessed from a distance, the rising up of young people in the USA, against gun violence – an amazing release and demand from the generation most impacted by the gun culture in that part of the world.
From the balcony
Voices not bullets
From the streets
Standing not running
From their hearts
Hope not fear
From the mike
Life not death
From the classroom
To the Congress
To the Senate
To the President
To all of us around the world
We are all marching for our lives.
So often I have felt bereft at the violence and ill health that draws people to their deaths from the barrel of a gun toted in public places like schools in the USA. But today I am consoled by those young people, their families and friends who have been prepared to “stand up and be counted”. I am consoled by the knowledge that size and visibility does matter when trying to show others the depth of feeling and support. I am consoled the generation often accused of being slacktivists and key board warriors, got up and got out and onto the streets for the world to see.
The act of solidarity of standing with others.
The act of witness to watch and affirm.
These are the acts to midwife change.
Today is Palm Sunday and in my Christian tradition, this is the day, a man on a donkey rides into the centre of his capital of a nation state occupied by colonists who speak another language, answer to another authority, usig the powers of religion and state to oppress the locals. Instead of coming into town through the main gate, he goes through the back one and heads directly to the centre, while at the other end of town the occupiers are holding their own march and meeting in the centre was bound to end in tears. A few days later the man is tried, sentenced and crucified and a few more days go by and the story continues with renewal and transformation. Today I will be heading into my town and we will be walking from a people’s place to the centre of government. We want to remember all those who are seeking to find in our land and who can’t because they are not welcome by our government to seek refuge here. We want to show ourselves we are not alone in our commitment and efforts to bring these people here as they languish between worlds. We want to invite our friends and neighbours, families and coworkers, to join us. We want to be part of the phenomena that is holy and blessed unrest – the call to action, prophetic witness to be more human and more fully alive of what it means to share that humanity and console one another in our despair.
Consolation is love made visible. It can’t happen in the dark, in secret. It happens in the light, on the streets. It is the touch from a stranger, when we hold hands and sing. In the touch of a child who hugs and hangs on. In the meeting of eyes offering empathy that transcends and transforms. Consolation is love made visible.