Happy New Year to all.
For many, it is resolution time.
But here’s my confession, I’m not a list maker. Well, that’s not technically accurate. I do make lists, but tend to forget where I put them. This is true; I tip my hat and raise a glass to resolution list makers.
And I’ve been asked already, “You got anything new and exciting planned for the coming year?” Which is a question that can derail me, wondering if I have the right or inspiring answers. (It’s never been easy for me to put on excitement, just for show.)
Over 25 years ago, I began writing Sabbath Moment as a weekly column. Actually, writing it to stay grounded (well, to stay sane). And no, I didn’t expect to still be writing in January of 2024. But I’m ever so very glad that I am.
In the church world, we are too often asked, “What do you believe?” meaning creed. And sadly, we don’t ask, “What grounds you?” When I began this Sabbath Moment journey, I found nourishment in Ram Dass’ affirmation, “We’re all just walking each other home.” Well, that grounds me. And helps me to not give in to bleakness of spirit. And for one who has wrestled with bleakness of spirit, I am so very grateful that we are on this journey together.
There’s a beautiful Irish phrase from West Kerry, “Mo sheasamh ort lá na choise tinne.” It means, “You are the place where I stand on the day when my feet are sore.”
That makes my heart smile real big.
But here’s the deal: Trust has never been easy for me. And this is a conundrum, I know, because we are not on this journey alone. And being human means being in relationship. Bad or good, it’s still a relationship. (And these past years have been a wee bit dicey in terms of our sense of community.)
But this is undeniable: We all need (and yearn for) places of safety, sanctuary, and restoration when our “feet are sore”.
So. How do we find such places, in a world splintered, wounded and cynical?
In a world inundated, where we lose track and our fuel for conversation is reactive, even combative?
When our equilibrium is catawampus, how do we hit the reset?
When asked about my ministry years as a young pastor, I have answered with a smile, “It was quite pleasurable, you know, except for the people.” And I get nods of agreement.
So yes, maybe it’s a good time to rethink how we see relationships, as it seems that we have lost confidence in love.
Meet poet and theologian Pádraig Ó Tuama. He reminds us that we don’t always have to agree with each other to love (or trust) each other. Disagreement and belonging can be embraced at once.
Ó Tuama has seen firsthand the transformative power of living through disagreement in community. He’s about to finish a five-year term as the leader of Corrymeela, a community in Northern Ireland working to heal the culture of division and history of conflict between Irish Catholics and Protestants.
Here’s his invitation; What might it look like to enter into disagreement from a place of trust rather than fear?
And if we know that we are vulnerable to being transformed by one another, can we change in ways we might not yet understand?
How scary and strange and meaningful can that be?
“We’re constantly making each other,” John Powell writes. “And if we do it right, we’re going to create a bigger ‘we,’ a different ‘we.’”
Let us begin here: Disagreement is not a disqualifier.
And I love the phrase, “working to heal”. It would be a great book title. An even better life mission.
“What do you do?”
“I work to heal.”
From Jewish tradition we learn our job title; Tikkun olam. Literally, repair of the world.
The word olam also means hidden . We need to repair the world so that its Creator is no longer hidden within, but shines through each thing in magnificent, harmonious beauty.
As a gardener this makes perfect sense. It’s all about the dirt. Nutritious or nutritive soil creates and generates life. Toxic soil does not. Fertility is stifled, because the nutrients have been leached.
Tikkun, to repair the soil of the world with nutrients: kindness, a balm of generosity, a capacity to accommodate fragility, and a softness of spirit. What Eve Ensler called, “The daily subtle simple gathering of kindness.”
Working to heal (Tikkun olam) isn’t only for the spiritually or intellectually inclined.
Working to heal is in our DNA. As children of our creator, we are healers.
In kindness, we affirm dignity.
In empathy, we see value and build connections.
With compassion and justice, we right wrongs and create sanctuaries.
When I live from scarcity, I’ve lost my mooring. I clutch, and I blame. However, when I live from the sufficiency of my DNA, the world does not make me hate. I trust my heart, and any assumed scarcity (of kindness and compassion) does not get to say how the story ends.
Let us pay attention, let us notice and say thank you, to moments of healing.
And when people live from that DNA (the power of ordinary and gentle acts of kindness, even in the face of disagreement), the stories give our heart (and world) hope.
In my mind, Archbishop Desmond Tutu offers us the best for New Year resolutions.
“We are made for goodness. We are made for love. We are made for friendliness. We are made for togetherness. We are made for all of the beautiful things that you and I know. We are made to tell the world that there are no outsiders. All are welcome: black, white, red, yellow, rich, poor, educated, not educated, male, female, gay, straight, all, all, all. We all belong to this family, this human family, God’s family.”
Books and reading, still bliss for me. And some of my favorites this past year. How to know a person, David Brooks, The Kingdom the Power and the Glory, Tim Alberta, This Here is Flesh, Cole Arthur Riley, And there was light, Jon Meacham and Testimony, Jon Ward.
It was a wonderfully sun splattered day here in the PNW. And the geese hung out, gratefully, by the pond just outside.
Onward we go my friends, let us walk one another home.
Quote for your week…
“In everyone’s life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit.” Albert Schweitzer
Today’s Photo Credit: “Hi Terry, It seemed like an uneventful morning on the waterfront. I turned to see the other photographers had left. I just felt like there was something more so I stayed. And there before my eyes was this amazing sunrise with sun rays caressing Mount Rainier! If we ‘Stand Still’ as you say we too can feel God caressing us. May 2024 be one of eyes wide open,” Marguerite Geronitis… Thank you Marguerite… And thank you to all, I love your photos… please keep sending them… send to terryhershey.com
Yes, your gift makes a difference… Donation = Love…
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.
(NEW address by check: PO Box 65336, Port Ludlow, WA 98365)
Letters that do my heart good…
–I first read your book over 13 yrs ago and it literally helped to turn my life around! Thank you, Terry! Trust you have a wonderful 2024! And I’ve re-read ‘The Power of Pause’ about 4 times since! Timeless wisdom and a dash of good humour. Martin
–Beautiful message, from a beautiful soul. You are bright beacon in a sometimes not so perfect world and it’s just what we needed today. Thank you for shining your light so brightly for all of us to see. Happy and Healthy New Year to you and your family. You are a treasure, Gale
–Hi Terry, I am so grateful for your Sabbath moments. They are the main part of my daily meditations keep writing and inspiring so many people. With gratitude, DeAnn
–Merry Christmas, Terry. The best gifts of Christmas are those of the heart. So, we wish you peace in your heart, joy in your life, and an abundance of love always. So very grateful for you and for the peace, joy and love you bring to us throughout the year. Blessings, my friend. Joanie and Mick
–I am so grateful that you continue to bless my mornings with gentleness and kind words of encouragement. Thank you. Jo
–Hello Terry! I loved your Christmas message about Peace, and the story about the soldiers connecting. Thanks for sharing that, and reminding us that Peace is our gift to each other. Oh that people would learn to embrace that – I hope you had a Blessed and enjoyable Christmas. And I do wish you Peace, Happiness and good health in the New Year! Blessings, Arla
POEMS AND PRAYERS
May we raise children
who love the unloved
things–the dandelion, the
worms and spiderlings.
Children who sense
the rose needs the thorn
& run into rainswept days
the same way they
turn towards sun…
And when they’re grown &
someone has to speak for those
who have no voice
may they draw upon that
wilder bond, those days of
tending tender things
and be the ones.
Entering the New Year
God of all time,
help us enter the New Year quietly,
thoughtful of who we are to ourselves and to others,
mindful that our steps make an impact
and our words carry power.
May we walk gently.
May we speak only after we have listened well.
Creator of all life,
help us enter the New Year reverently,
aware that you have endowed
every creature and plant, every person and habitat
with beauty and purpose.
May we regard the world with tenderness.
May we honor rather than destroy.
Lover of all souls,
help us enter the New Year joyfully,
willing to laugh and dance and dream,
remembering our many gifts with thanks
and looking forward to blessings yet to come.
May we welcome your lavish love.
May we cast off the small, vindictive god our fears have made.
May the grace and peace of Christ bless us now and in the days ahead.
Vinita Hampton Wright