Super Moon: Post Election Reflections
November 13, 2016, 5:20 am

The pre-dawn darkness sits full on my front porch accompanied by stillness and silence. It’s a holy darkness. Not a hint of breeze or sound of a neighborhood cat walking across fallen leaves, not even a glimmer of the moon in the sky. What new birth might this womb-darkness hold?

Tomorrow morning there will be a super-moon, the largest full moon since 1948, a year before I arrived on earth. As I am part of the baby boom that followed one of the darkest periods in world history, it feels like a sign of hope.

I am grieving, and it’s a more complicated grief than who won and lost the election. I grieve the depth of our division and divisiveness as a people and the kind of darkness that has marred and marked our discourse for too long. Rather than a holy darkness, it’s a sticky darkness filled with tar pits for the unwary.

The invitation – and I believe it is a spiritual one – is to stay in the chaos with an attitude of humility… I am talking about making space for genuine human-to-human meeting in the spirit of moral humility rather than moral arrogance. We live in a country split down the middle and I need to learn more than I can access in the echo chambers of my own moral tribe. Restoring civility is not enough if that means reducing discomfort by calling for unity and slapping a veneer of politeness on top of genuine differences. While the vitriol has been unprecedented, it is also revealing. The cover has been pulled and there’s genuine ugliness and pain underneath. The pain needs acknowledgment and redress. The ugliness needs to be named and owned. It’s OURS. We need to go deeper while  we find our way forward, not shallower as we seek to return to the illusory past.

Scott Peck in his “The Different Drum: Community Making and Peace” says that ‘politeness and pretending’ provide entry into community life. It has an order that allows us to come together, almost like a honeymoon. The next phase, when differences can no longer be glossed over, plunges into chaos. This is where different ‘sides’ come to a fever pitch in their efforts to convert the misguided other to the right way of seeing and being (which of course coincides with “my” way, whatever it is). We’re there.

Retreating to politeness and pretending is tempting but doesn’t work. It will last only until the next boil over. The invitation – and I believe it is a spiritual one – is to stay in the chaos with an attitude of humility and a willingness to open to more than the opinions I already hold.

It means resisting finger pointing and name calling, both of which make objects of ‘wrong-headed others,’ stripping them of their essential humanity. It means looking in the mirror and reflecting on my own ‘isms’: “Why do you look at the speck in your brother’s or sister’s eye and do not see the log in your own?” It means dangerous listening for the humanity of the other beneath positions that are inconceivable to me. It’s dangerous because truly meeting another can shift my perspective.

I am not talking about making room for hate or pretending all values are equal; I am talking about making space for genuine human-to-human meeting in the spirit of moral humility rather than moral arrogance. We live in a country split down the middle and I need to learn more than I can access in the echo chambers of my own moral tribe.

It won’t be easy, but it is worthy work. If we can engage it well, what feels like chaos can become the fertile edge of the new creation where the breath of God calls new forms into being. Engaging it well is what transformational practices at Bread of Life are all about.

The sky is lightening outside my window, silhouettes of familiar trees standing dark against the sky. Soon there will be wisps of color signifying the new day. Join me – and us - in receiving the gift of each new day with gratitude and in growing into the kind of people together that we can choose to become.

--Sandra Lommasson

In Coming Weeks:

  • Engaging the Shadow, part 1: 90% pure gold

  • Engaging the Shadow, part 2: that last 10% is a killer (literally)

  • The phenomena of being ‘left behind’

  • The human experience of being ‘other’

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Entries
 
Posted by Dianne Aldrich on 16-Nov-2016 at 08:34:07 EST
Subject: Providing a Pathway

Thank you for these necessary words we will need over and over again in the coming days, months, years. May the voice of BOL remain strong and beautiful providing a path through the wilderness.

Posted by Sue Mannshardt on 15-Nov-2016 at 07:03:44 EST
Subject: Renewing Hope

Thank you, Sandra…as always your words hit home, inspire, and help make clearer the road to healing that we need so desperately in our country and world. Many prophetic voices, including yours, have come forward these past few days…from Maria Shriver's interview with Desmond Tutu a day or so before the election, to Jim Wallis, Richard Rohr, Cynthia Bourgeault…some pretty challenging stuff. I sent at least one of these to our daughter who is deeply grieved (as are we all are), who replied, "I don't see the hope yet!" And as more and more of his cabinet appointees are made known, that hope seems dimmer and dimmer…For me the the question is, what can I do other than contribute to programs like Planned Parenthood or some agency/program that supports saving God's creation, gay rights, civil rights etc etc etc…My hope is that with the approach of Advent, and the coming of hope, joy, peace renewed, my hope will grow stronger and more and more light will shine through the cracks in the darkness you call a sticky pit, and once again we can sing "Holy Darkness!"

Posted by Lynne L on 15-Nov-2016 at 06:19:48 EST
Subject: Engaging

Staying present in the discomfort is the not-so-easy task. It is not easy to stay in the process with the finger-pointing and name-calling when it touches our own ire. Active, engaged presence and deep listening is essential. I am so grateful for the skills, and especially the attitudes, that we have been honing over the past couple of years as interns. May we all remain humbly engaged.

Posted by Carol Abbott on 14-Nov-2016 at 08:59:38 EST
Subject: Community

I join you in wanting to open myself to the times of meeting and listening that will begin to heal our deep divides. Right now my grief makes that seem impossible, and yet I trust that the breath of God IS still creating. I am grateful for the breath of life and hope that comes with and from Bread of Life community.