My immediate response when something stunning happens—especially when it’s horrifying, like the assault on the US Capitol Building today—is to go quiet and turn inward; not to speak, but to watch; to take in what I’m observing, but not to process it.
It’s a visceral response, not a rational one. Meaning-making takes time, for me. Thought. Reflection.
Always I’m awed by, and grateful for, those persons—like many clergy and some of you online this afternoon—who are able in the moment of crisis to offer incisive words of outrage and insight and encouragement. To make meaning as the experience is being experienced.
Meanwhile I’ll be over here, taking deep breaths and watching and listening, gathering bits and pieces of wisdom as they float past.
And even that takes a little while. When the news began unfolding this afternoon, my first action was to start downloading a bunch of free queer romance stories to my e-reader. (They’re available all week, and I had flagged the email a few days ago. Somehow my brain decided that this afternoon was the ideal time to act—I know it was an act of emotional defensiveness as I struggled to comprehend what I was hearing about the disgusting, violent, terrifying attack on the Capitol.)
We all have coping mechanisms. Yours are your own, and I hope they are serving you now.
And still, our covenant holds—we struggle together on our spiritual journeys.
So, your religious community—I as your minister, the other staff, your fellow UUCC members—is here as we live through this national ordeal. Use email and the phone and Facebook groups and Realm’s Community Connection and Zoom rooms to stay in touch with one another, to commiserate, to offer support.
And this evening (Wednesday, January 6), in lieu of our usual very informal and sociable 7pm listening circle, we will gather for virtual candle-lighting—a vigil, of sorts, for the well-being of our democracy.
Additionally, the leaders of Luther Place Church and the DC Clergy Collective had already organized, before today, A Liturgy of the Hours for January 6, 2021: “We ask that every hour, on the hour, you commune with the God of justice and healing as a faithful witness against the evils of white supremacy and all forms of hatred and division between God’s beloved ones.” It now seems even more relevant. Perhaps some of those prayers will be a balm for your spirit.
I love you, UUCC, and you are in my heart and prayers.
Thank you, Paige. This reflection is so helpful for tonight, after the events of this afternoon. We are in a moment of needing to face a national ordeal and it is not an easy thing to do. It is good that we can support each other as the events we are witnessing unfold.
Took a break from doomscrolling on Twitter to look at email after a day of watching the news unfold. It’s now nearly 2am. Grateful to read this, hopeful that it will help me turn off my mind and rest a bit. Thank you!
This…or something much worse, seemed inevitable to me. Maybe it’s my military training or just a certain hyper-vigilance I’ve lived with all my life. At his core Trump is a coward…and the thought of being ‘exposed’ or ‘humiliated’ drives and explains much of his behavior. Folks like Trump (& his enablers) have always been in the human mix. But my feelings right now are Profound Joy and Hope for what’s possible for so many in the next 4 years.
Thank you Paige for sharing this.
I too need time to reflect and find the balance to respond to horrible events.
I tend to feel choking anger at injustice and that prevents me from reflecting for a while.
So I have to withdraw and work on releasing the anger breath-by-breath
to nurture healing as I seek a role to bring about change. Blessings to everyone.