I’m picturing, as I am sure you have seen, one of those television weather reports where a reporter is standing in drenching rain with strong winds blowing so hard that they can barely keep their balance. Sometimes, these days may feel that way, even though our societal winds blow silently and unseen, their path can leave bodies, minds, and hearts in their wake. These are times like that. It is a time to take your caring temperature, a time to step up. A time to be counted. You will find me standing on the side of those who claim as their own, “the goal of world community with peace, liberty and justice for all,” as stated in our Unitarian Universalist Sixth Principle. A reminder that no matter what, we matter always. Where will you stand, no matter what?
During these times we need each other. It’s much easier to endure a storm, easier to face the wind, easier to keep our balance, when we are standing shoulder to shoulder. We stand for justice, for dignity, for all. To quote the popular singer Michael Franti; “every single soul has a right to be blooming, so stay human.” So, no matter what, stay human.” To me, this means to stay in that place where a smile can change everything, that place where your grandkids play, that place where the grocery clerk matters as much as the bank manager, the place where there are no strangers, just humans you haven’t met yet. The place where there are no “Others.”
How does one become an Other? Who taught me to distinguish between me, between us and between them? What have I been taught, what have I caught and what have I bought? When do the whispers about them become the truth for me, for you? How do whispers become the truth? Is it in the atmosphere, like the weather that I cannot control? Will it blow me away? Does it tell me to blow them away or should I wish the Other would just go away? The Zulu of South Africa have a term called Ubuntu, which means; I am because you are. In this way of seeing the world, in this way of being, there is no Other, no separation between you and me. No separation between she, her, and he and him, or them. They are me; I cannot exist without you. That goes against all those stories that we have been told. Yet, when I meet them, are they that different from me? And if that is so, so what? Audri Lorde reminds us that it is not our differences that separate us but instead it is our inability to recognize, understand and learn to celebrate the differences.
My offering today is that despite the stormy weather or the atmosphere that we live in, it really is more about the atmosphere, the temperature within myself, within yourself, that will help us maintain and keep our balance. A safe space and a brave space. A safe space where we acknowledge the unprecedented health and environmental challenges during this time of pandemic and tumult. A brave space where we openly embrace the social justice challenges in our world and in our community.
No Matter What.