I’m aware that as we hear each other’s joys and concerns during services or have a conversation during a gathering at church, we often are limited in terms of what we can actually “do” to alleviate another person’s pain or suffering. Yet, there is still something powerful about being seen, heard, and understood. One can experience a slight shift in the weight of the one’s burden when we are willing to take the risk and share major life transitions out loud in the presence of a caring congregation.
A number of you have shared your feelings about upcoming holidays citing sadness, fear, and concern about gathering with your politically divided family. Clearly, you are not alone…Websites, Facebook pages, YouTube videos, and national phone calls have all emerged as resources during the first few weeks following the election. There are a range of ideas and tools that have been made available to help navigate such gatherings. It has been noted how faith and politics are often entwined creating even greater challenges when trying to stay grounded in one’s own values and beliefs without retreating fully or engaging in hopeless arguments. The national call I joined recently also reminded all of us about the impact of alcohol at such gatherings. I encourage you all to pay attention to yourself and those around you if alcohol is present.
My hope is that we can all find ways to nurture our spirits and ground ourselves in a greater love, even if we are not feeling it in the presence of others who have a very different world view. Know that you have a faith community that holds you in love wherever you may be. Imagine us at your side, more than willing to see, hear, and understand that which you are experiencing.
We can also offer such presence to others. Reach out to those you see who are vulnerable and hurting in your community. Acknowledge their fear and pain. It is so easy to get so wrapped up in our own lives that we fail to actually see each other. We will find ways to move out into the world and advocate for justice as the year unfolds. I welcome your ideas in the New Year.
By Virginia Satir
I believe The greatest gift I can conceive of having from anyone is to be seen by them, heard by them, to be understood and touched by them.
The greatest gift I can give is to see, hear, understand and to touch another person. When this is done I feel Contact has been made.
Take great care,