It has been quite a week for me, and I’m sure for many of you too. I have friends who are ecstatic over the outcome of last Tuesday’s election. I have other friends who are experiencing painful grief over the very same outcome. Never have I known an election to be so polarizing, and to cause strife and fracturing in long valued friendships. I think one commonality, perhaps the only one, is relief that the vitriolic campaign is now over. As for me, in order to gain some perspective, I’ve determined to unplug from social media for a couple of weeks. It’s just gotten too factious, too ugly. Many of my friends, on both sides of the election, are feeling exhausted and wounded from people who have held opposing hopes and viewpoints. I’m just not wanting to be in the midst of the Facebook post-election “flinging.” Respite, refocusing on Jesus, His love, His kingdom and His purposes is what my soul needs – and it is what I am seeking while I fast from the likes of Facebook and Twitter.
Perhaps you have received some “slings and arrows,” from those who see things differently than you do. Maybe you feel the need to pull out some of those “emotional arrows.” That’s the clean-up work I will be doing in my own heart this week in order to let forgiveness flow. For me it can only be done in solitude – apart from the voices of social media. As you know, solitude is foundational to Ignatian Spirituality. The idea is to unplug from the noise of the world in order to be alone with God, to pray, to meditate on His Word, and to simply enjoy His presence. This is where refreshment and internal restoration can begin.
I found a beautiful poem/blessing by the late Irish poet, priest and philosopher, John O’Donohue. He is known for his insistence on beauty as a human calling. In the restorative process, it’s important to return to the understanding that no matter what the political leanings/behaviors of others (or the pain they have inflicted), each person is made in God’s image, and He loves each individual dearly. Pretty simple truth – not always easily lived out when the heart has been pierced by the intentional or thoughtless barbs of others.
So…whether you are thrilled or saddened this week, maybe O’Donohue’s blessing “For Solitude” will help remind you of the beauty and uniqueness of every human life…especially yours!
May you recognize in your life the presence,
power, and light of your soul.
May you realize that you are never alone,
that your soul in its brightness and belonging
connects you intimately with the rhythm of the universe.
May you have respect for your individuality and difference.
May you realize that the shape of your soul is unique,
that you have a special destiny here,
that behind the facade of your life
there is something beautiful and eternal happening.
May you learn to see your self
with the same delight,
pride, and expectation
with which God sees you in every moment.
I pray and hope that we see all of these things in ourselves, and in others who don’t see things the way we see them.
Yours in Christ