Realism, Grief, and Hope

Rev. Teri writes:

Walter Brueggemann, esteemed scholar of the Hebrew prophets, says a congregation is called to practice three things:

1) Realism in the face of ideology.
2) Grief while the world is in denial.
3) Hope when the world is in despair.

As someone who lives with chronic pain, I have to practice when to push and when to rest. I don’t always get it right, but I’ve learned this:

On a good day, I can’t pretend all will be well forever.
On a bad day, I can’t give into despair that it will always be terrible.
But I can take one day at a time.
And because I know I’m in it for the long haul, I can push hard some days, I can rest some days.

Here we are: in the midst of a chronic social pain. It will not be over tomorrow.

On good days, we can’t pretend all is well.
On days of terrible news, we can’t give into despair.

Stay strong.
Nurture your inner prophet.
That doesn’t mean you’re out protesting in the streets every minute.

It doesn’t mean you don’t have moments when you weep and want to crawl under the covers. You will.

That just means you’re seeing reality and grieving. We must do that. Otherwise we will be in denial and we can’t afford denial.

So watch the news.
Rest.
Show up to a rally.
Take a social media vacation, while others tune in.
Write an op-ed.
Take your vitamins, take your medicine, drink lots of water.
Call your representatives.
Eat your vegetables and walk your dog.
Think critically.
Support comedians and artists and laugh.
Truth-tell.
Get a houseplant.
If you’re in recovery, work your program.
Do your sit ups if you do sit-ups.
Reach out to your neighbors. Be kind.
Meditate if you meditate, pray if you pray.
And if you’re cutting back your cholesterol, then don’t eat those eggs, because we need you.
Start where you are.
Use what you have.
Do what you can.

We’re in it for the long haul, and our tasks are to confront reality, to grieve, and to hope – which also means to put that hope to work in the world.