In this tumultuous time, when our rising anxiety over the intensifying COVID pandemic is only matched by our exhaustion with political turmoil, I have been on the look-out for sources of calm and consolation. And I am happy to report I have found one.
It came in comments I read the other day from Robin Wall Kimmerer. You may be familiar with her as an accomplished botanist and member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation who is author of the bestselling “Braiding Sweetgrass.” If you haven’t had a chance to read the book, I strongly commend it to you for how it beautifully winds together wisdom from native traditions and from the scientific world.
In a recent interview, Kimmerer said that, “when we’re looking at things we cherish falling apart, when inequities and injustices are so apparent, people are looking for another way that we can be living. We need interdependence rather than independence.”
She added that the other day she was at her home raking leaves into a compost pile when it got her thinking: “This is our work as humans in this time,” she said. “To build good soil in our gardens, to build good soil culturally and socially, and to create potential for the for the future. What will endure through almost any kind of change? The regenerative capacity of the earth. We can help create conditions for renewal.”
Precisely! We walked away from the last election both gladdened and troubled: we got some of the change we wanted, but not all. It’s up to us, then, to keep on working the change, brick by brick, step by step, and not get discouraged when the going gets hard. If we can’t create renewal directly, then we can bring about the conditions for renewal. That means living by our values, reaching out, cultivating both kindness and resilience.
We may need to put our garden to bed for the winter, but if we make good soil, we can create the conditions for the change to come.
Rev. Mark Ward, Lead Minister