This Is Not The Time To Give Up
Thank goodness it’s May.
April was long and hard on both my body and my soul. I’m guessing many of you feel the same way. For me, six weeks of quarantine with moody teenagers, the challenge of trying to find quiet time to work in the constant noise and busyness of my home, and an endless stream of sad news from around the globe has added up to a perfect storm of stress and anxiety. (Oh, and did I mention we’re moving at the end of May? We’re downsizing, simplifying, and selling our home of 15 years to move to an apartment on the other side of town, closer to Mike’s workplace and Benjamin’s high school… How’s that for some added pressure at this time?)
I have made a commitment to share at least one blog post a week, and I’m just squeaking this out on Sunday morning, so perhaps that tells you something about my current state of overwhelm. I can also see that fewer people are reading right now - perhaps because everyone is juggling the challenges of their own life at the moment, with little mental space left for this particular issue.
On the national level, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops was supposed to be having its General Assembly in June, but this meeting has understandably been cancelled. While momentum for reform was already dissipating in this body, the cancellation of the June meeting feels like a death blow for any hope of continued change on the national level. Our bishops are dealing with a whole new crisis now. By the time they gather again in November, I would guess the issue of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church will no longer be on the agenda in any significant way. And what about the long-promised McCarrick Report? Do we even remember that we’re still waiting for those answers?
I have to confess, despair has occasionally been creeping into my heart, telling me to throw in the towel and spend my time on happier pursuits.
However, in the past few days, I have had three conversations with abuse survivors, each more heart-wrenching than the last. Their stories serve as a constant reminder of how critically important this work is. No one who has truly listened to this ongoing pain could ever say “it’s time for us to move on.” There is still so much work to be done, so much change and healing yet to be accomplished.
Friends, it’s still Easter, season of new life and new hope. We are moving toward Pentecost - one of my favorite feasts of the church year, when we celebrate the power of God working through human beings in unexpected, world-changing ways.
A friend recently sent me these compelling words from Dorothy Day, a woman who certainly understood what it is to face giant problems with no simple solutions:
“One of the greatest evils of the day... is [the] sense of futility. People say, ‘What good can one person do? What is the sense of our small effort?’ They cannot see that we must lay one brick at a time, take one step at a time; we can be responsible only for the action of the present moment but we can beg for an increase of love in our hearts that will vitalize and transform all our individual actions, and know that God will take them and multiply them, as Jesus multiplied the loaves and fishes.”
So, to all who have been following along with this blog, whether deeply committed to this work or more distantly engaged - I say to you, and to myself:
This is not the time to give up. This is the time to offer our loaves and fishes, however humble they might seem, and trust that God will multiply them.
I am resolved to keep walking this path. I hope you will walk with me.
Let us not grow tired of doing good,
for in due time we shall reap our harvest,
if we do not give up.
- Galatians 6:9
Holy Spirit, worker of miracles (and giver-of-3:00am-pep-talks), we trust in you.