Crisis of Spirit
“In time of crisis of the spirit, we are aware of all our need, our need for each other and our need for ourselves. We call up with all the strength of summoning that we have, our fullness. If there is a feeling that something has been lost, it may be because much has not yet been used, much is still to be found and begun.”
Friday evening, I was at a restaurant having dinner with my friend, Anna. This particular restaurant is located in an incorporated township established in 1950, part of the early wave of white-flight out of Birmingham. The town still has a predominately white population in spite of sixty years of integration. As we were leaving, I scanned the restaurant and realized that there were no people of color sitting at tables. It was an eerie, unpleasant feeling. I realized, not for the first time by any means, that I don't want to live in an all-white society. It is extremely uncomfortable for me to see no people of color around me.
When I returned home and turned on the news, I learned that people who are here in America without documents are being rounded up and deported. This should not surprise me, since it is what the new president promised to do, but even so, it hurts my heart. This new administration is creating a crisis of the spirit for millions of Americans. This morning, I found quotes from Muriel Rukeyser, a Jewish American poet, who wrote in the middle of the 20th century, before and during World War II. Her words are just as cogent today, a century later. She wrote: “In time of crisis, we summon up our strength. Then if we are lucky, we are able to call every resource, every forgotten image that can leap to our quickening, every memory that can make us know our power.”
Every human being on Earth knows the strength of those words. The people who are marching in streets around the world today, know the power of ordinary citizens engaged in peaceful resistance. This is not the first time, or even the second, that the rise of exceptionalism, of exclusion, and nationalistic animus has reared its ugly head. We have come through similar crises and we will survive this one. We must, and we will, summon all our ethical and spiritual resources. “However confused the scene of our life appears, however torn we may be who now do face that scene, it can be faced, and we can go on to be whole.” (Muriel Rukeyser)
In the Spirit,