This season has been rough, as a review of my blogs would attest. My feelings about the election are well known, this estrangement sucks the energy out of my every day, horror blasts me as I watch the news to find another mass shooting or another unarmed black man shot by a police officer, then of course my double concussions set me back for several months. It has been hard to find the joy, to see the promise when all around felt bleak and my head hurt. My soul was searching, I kept showing up to church, looking for the light. Yesterday, in my car, I finally felt the warmth of the sun even in autumn, I knew the Light was surrounding me even in this darkness. Oddly enough, my hope came from an NPR story about the NFL.
I have listened and read for 9 months now as people are made less depending on skin color or religion or income or gender. I have witnessed friends and families divide, as love for this country becomes about a piece of cloth and not the people who wave it. Wondering where empathy went, how we became so full of anger and hate that we could no longer even hear each other, I grew increasing fearful of talking to anyone about the matters that were breaking my soul. Still, I avoided seeking out only like minded people, a danger as bubbles keep us safe only for a moment, when they pop we are exposed and vulnerable and our lack of global information becomes evident. Yet, the darkness was burying me, I too wanted to hide under the blankets and let someone else worry about Puerto Rico and mass incarceration and immigration and all the Harvey Weinsteins of the world. I admit I was only seeing the shadows, the light was dim, as if sun glasses were shading me. Surely the Light was there all the time.
During this report on NPR, I heard an interview about the talks between the players and the owners and this comment from Roger Goddell saying, “The discussion was very productive and very important. It reflected our commitment to work together with our players on the issues of social justice.” Yes, friends, this was the source of all my hope, this is when the light broke through. The tears flowed, the dam of sorrow burst open. We have been witness to history, that subtle shift in time when patterns long held are broken, when light shines through the cracks. The NFL players who have been protesting in a civil rights manner akin to Martin Luther King Jr, using their power positions to draw attention for those who have no national stage, to amplify the voices of those who are silenced, it worked. The commissioner of the NFL, the most powerful sport in the country, used the words “commitment to social justice. ”
When I heard those words, I experienced deep sweet hope. I had forgotten the feeling, such was my despair. I was overwhelmed, the light was so bright, the joy was so great. Does it seem silly to have taken my cue that life is going to be okay from a radio show and not from the orange leaves in the trees or the wooly worms preparing for winter? Maybe I just needed a rich powerful man to not say the protesters were wrong, I needed someone in power to say the words social justice. Whatever the reason, however it came about, I was reminded that sometimes it really is darkest before the dawn and the truth about our current days is that we have a chance to be the light we hope to see. We can bring more peace and social justice and love and hope during these turbulent days, that is how we make the cracks, all of us shaking things up a bit. His Light will shine with us, will go before us, if we are brave enough to do what is right. Sometimes that is standing up, sometimes sitting down, sometimes even kneeling. We may be called to speak up or gather together silently. Following the lead of Jesus, we will bring the light, we will bring more hope into this broken world.
Friends, I hope you can find a bit of light today. Maybe you are the illumination someone else is waiting for. Thanks for joining me here during the darkest days as I keep searching for my own shining sliver. I felt hope again and my God it was glorious.