We live in a strange age. Certainly, different tribes have warred, like the Israelis and Palestinians, since the beginning of time. The world has always been a violent place. My own country was founded on the genocide of native people. But now the whole world is our village. Now, with my smartphone, I can see the agony of our human siblings across the world—watch the children fleeing from airstrikes in Syria, old women dying of hunger in Yemen, teenage gunshot victims being carried from a US high school—in real time. How can our minds conceive of this level of sorrow? How can our hearts not break every moment? Terrible things have always happened, but now we witness nearly every loss.
The only way we survive this modern agony is together. We need a community of kind people we can grasp hold of when the grief of being alive right now threatens to sweep us away. People we can mourn with when being human is almost unbearably painful. I turn to my church family when I feel this deep sorrow and I am embraced. We light candles and sing our mourning songs and sometimes God herself shows up to remind us that while life is often very difficult, it can also be beautiful. Especially when we see holiness in each other’s faces. We practice our faith together, trying to be kind, trying to forgive, trying to be awake in the midst of suffering. We lean into our faith tradition and into each other.
an excerpt from Stubborn Grace: Faith, Mental Illness, and Demanding a Blessing