I have not written in a while because I have been consumed, like many Americans, with the anxiety surrounding our recent election. That chapter has now closed and it is a new time.
Today’s sermon was about apocalypse. Many of us think of fire, destruction, rapture, nuclear war, or some other awful end-of-the-world scenario when we hear that term. The word actually is from the Greek word apokálypsis, meaning revelation. The next question is, what has been revealed?
A uncomfortable truth about our society has been revealed: the ugly face of racism, bigotry, fear, and hatred. That is our apocalypse.
This is a difficult time for many people. I have many friends who now live in fear and/or anger because of the events of this week. I am saddened to see the pain, but see a flicker of hope. I may be the only one who sees it this way and I wish to share my perspective.
My husband is an excellent cleaner (yes, this is relevant). What is somewhat maddening to me is that the deeper he cleans, the more initial mess he makes. He clears everything out of the area to clean the area completely, and the result is nearly always better than I imagined.
I think that the so-called uncomfortable truth has been festering under the surface of our society for a long time. We have placed a bandage in the form of hate crime legislation, LGBT rights legislation, etc. We have told ourselves that the problem is healed, forgetting that it is a bandage. By their very nature, bandages are only temporary. The wound it covers must be tended and healed; however we have not done that. We put bandages, forgot them, and the wounds have festered.
My point is that we are long past the time when we need to clean out the wounds that this election season has revealed. The legislative covers we have placed on racism, LGBT rights, and other social issues have been peeled back every so slightly and the festering wound is now visible. It is truly uncomfortable and pretty painful. Healing the wounds, if that is even possible, may take a very long time.
For an individual, this apocalypse can seem awfully daunting– dare I say, impossible. But it’s not. All each of us can do — and should do — is be open: To listening to the pain other people feel, to considering contrary viewpoints, to relieving one person’s suffering. By doing that over and over until the wounds are cleaned, we may be able to look back one day and realize that this time in our history, as awful as it may seem now, was a necessary step in our growth as a nation.