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Look for the helpers

Our hearts carry the 19 children and 2 teachers who were killed in Uvalde. And I hear a Mother say to a reporter, remembering her 10-year-old daughter, “Please tell me that our children did not die in vain.”
We live in a real world. With real, often unimaginable pain. And in a world where burnout is real, and apathy too close behind. And at times, “Sorry, I just don’t know how to care.”
But here’s the deal: We still need one another. Because no one of us is on this journey alone. Let us continue to grow and learn, and repent and heal.
I can almost hear my hero’s voice (Mr. Rogers)… “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’ To this day, especially in times of ‘disaster,’ I remember my mother’s words and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers – so many caring people in this world.” (Thank you Fred Rogers)
Hope comes from ordinary people who care. Helpers who try and give; and work to make safe places where we can heal. And grow.

Where to begin?
One. Let us stay emotionally and spiritually hydrated.
We are all wired to be replenished. And care of any kind begins with self-care.
I stand by that, more than ever. Depletion and exhaustion are rampant.
Not that many years ago, I spoke to a group of hospice care workers, about emotional and spiritual hydration. I started this way, “What I’m about to tell you is very selfish. I want you to be replenished. Because one day I will need one of you.”
No one of us is on this journey alone. And we need one another not only for care and comfort, but to pick up the pieces and find ways to create spaces in our world that do not diminish, belittle or devastate. What can I do to create that kind of world?
Too often, when I see acts of courage I see heroism, and I don’t see myself. Or I see how far I have to go. Or I see how far short I have fallen.
But I do understand tired. And I do understand discouraged. And I do understand the end of my resources.
So let’s begin here: How’s your spirit? What can we do to replenish it today?

Two. Let your light spill, without asking, “Is it enough?” Or, “Do I have what it takes?”
Where do we begin in our broken world? We begin in the small world, the one right in front of us.
Rear Admiral Thornton Miller Chief was the Chaplain at Normandy in WWII. Someone asked him, “Up and down the beach, with the shells going everywhere, why did you do that?”
“Because I’m a minister.”
“But didn’t you ask if they were Catholic or Protestant or Jew?”
“If you’re a minister, the only question you ask is, ‘Can I help you?'”
Here’s the deal: We are all wounded healers (where our wounds cease to be a source of shame and become a source of healing). No, this is not a strategy.  This is a fact.  It spills from those parts of our life that have been broken open, from those parts of us flawed and imperfect. So. What if this is not about accepting imperfection as some kind of divine teaching moment? What if the gift is in the inimitability of our humanity? When we embrace what is already inside, we live from the power of sufficiency, and let it spill.

I am (quite literally) here today because of people who let light (kindness, compassion, healing) spill in my life, at times when bleakness was too much to carry.
And I continue to write Sabbath Moment because I want to live in our real world, with a soft heart. Where hope is still real. I want to create places for sanctuary, empathy, inclusion, compassion, kindness and healing… spaces where we are refueled to make a difference.

Three. We show up.
As Ashley Judd noted when talking about her mother, “You can pretend to care. But you can’t pretend to show up.”
And my mantra (from David Orr). “The plain fact is that the planet does not need more successful people. But it does desperately needs more peacemakers, healers, restorers, storytellers, and lovers of every kind. It needs people who live well in their place. It needs people of moral courage willing to join the fight to make the world habitable and humane.” 

One way to show up is to pray. There is no doubt about that. It makes a difference. But, as Rev. Tish Harrison Warren reminds us today, “There is a saying in the Christian tradition that comes from monastic practice: ‘Ora et labora.’ Pray and work. It tells us that prayer and work, contemplation and action, are held together and inform one another. In Uvalde, I heard many times that ‘prayer is powerful.’ I believe that. And I believe that through prayer, God sends us into the hard work of loving others, in action and in policy. I have prayed for Uvalde and the victims there. I also think we desperately need far tighter gun restrictions in the United States and that this is an urgent moral issue. As a priest and as a mother, I believe it is imperative that lawmakers act to prevent the next mass shooting and address America’s gun problem.
Yet to say we need political action is not to say that it will ever be enough. We also need youth rec rooms. We need people who show up and stay with hurting families till late in the night. We need people who love their city and their church and pour their lives out for the people around them. And we need changed hearts.” (Thank you Rev. Tish)

I confess that the recent social media squabbles (clashes) have unnerved me. I don’t need to win an argument. I do want to be on the lookout (on the ready to show up), to be gentle and kind, and honestly, on the lookout for gentleness and kindness in return. And there’s not a person alive who doesn’t need a splash of gentleness and kindness and grace. Let’s begin there, shall we? It fills our depleted tanks. Enabling us to join the fight to make our world habitable and humane. 

With so much going on in the country and the world today, it seems as important as ever to honor Memorial Day, when we mourn those military personnel who have died in the service of the country—that is, for the rest of us.
Be gentle with yourselves my friends.

Quote for our week…
I am one, but still I am one;
I cannot do everything, but still I can do something;
And just because I cannot do everything,
I will not refuse to do the something that I can do.
Helen Keller

BULLETIN BOARD

Today’s Photo Credit:  “Vibrant rainbow on a rainy afternoon in May, Gypsum, CO,” Dorothy Chaknova… Thank you Dorothy… Keep sending your photos… send to terryhershey.com 

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Help make Sabbath Moment possible. I write SM because I want to live with a soft heart; to create a place for sanctuary, empathy, inclusion, compassion and kindness… a space where we are refueled to make a difference. SM remains free.
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June 12 — Burton Community Church, Vashon, WA
August 12 – 14 — Mary and Joseph Center, Rancho Palos Verdes CA, Soul Gardening: Sacrament of the Present Moment.

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Letters that do my heart good…
–Terry, I knew I would feel comforted in your sharing today. A basic need our nation’s is struggling with… how to protect our children? There’s no one solution to end this. I want to say, start with one, and keep moving towards more and don’t stop. Thank you for being a shining light. Donna
–Terry, I agree with compassion and kindness but I fear people use it to keep from acting. It is past time to turn, look the abusers in the eye, and hold them accountable. Love and compassion yes, but we so often stop there.  It is easier than holding someone accountable in love. I worry when I see so many suggesting we be loving and compassionate and the message stops there. We need to take the next more difficult step and we need to talk about that step more often. I believe the true deeper work is to say “this stops here” with love, fierce love. Dianne
–Terry, Thank you for changing your reflection today. The pain is raw and deep and for so many more rawer and deeper than mine. When will the killings stop? When will we discover guns are violent in the wrong hands? It is so hard to hear some say it is not the guns but as long as there are guns there will be shootings. My spirit is heavy today, the rain is not helping.  Thank you for your words. Pace e bene, Diane OSF

POEMS AND PRAYERS

Perhaps we just pay less attention to compassion and caring; we reinforce it less.  Whereas in some sense, we fully embrace hostility and anger as an emotional state, fueling and reinforcing it.  If we were to give the same amount of energy, attention, and reinforcement to compassion and caring, they would definitely be stronger.
Dalai Lama

The Hope of Loving
What keeps us alive, what allows us to endure?
I think it is the hope of loving,
or being loved.
I heard a fable once about the sun going on a journey;
to find its source, and how the moon wept
without her lover’s
warm gaze.
We weep when light does not reach our hearts. We wither
like fields if someone close
does not rain their
kindness
upon
us.
Meister Eckhart

We do not become healers.
We came as healers. We are.
Some of us are still catching up to what we are.
We do not become storytellers.
We came as carriers of the stories
we and our ancestors actually lived. We are.
Some of us are still catching up to what we are.
We do not become artists. We came as artists. We are.
Some of us are still catching up to what we are.
We do not become writers… dancers… musicians… helpers… peacemakers.
We came as such. We are.
Some of us are still catching up to what we are.
We do not learn to love in this sense.
We came as Love. We are Love.
Some of us are still catching up to who we truly are.
Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes

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