Every once in a while, I sign up for a religiously-based online course.
A few years ago, I did one on Benedictine practices. Because it was done during Lent, it was largely focused around Lectio Divina, a meditative reading of scripture. People would get on the phone call each week and be thrilled that they had been able to sit quietly for 30 minutes and focus on two Bible verses. I privately chose not to share that the process puts me to sleep. Clearly, I was not meant to be a Benedictine.
This year I signed up for a one-month series of e-emails exploring how to take common things and create a spiritual ritual out of them. That idea intrigues me. I don't know how many people are signed up for the class, but the initial message has 300 views, so probably about that many.
I came to the group when it was almost over, so I'm playing catch up on the messages. But I did check the responses that people had to the question: What are the Rituals of Your Life?
There are 33 replies. That means that maybe 10% of the participants shared their current rituals. The responses talked about getting up early, spending time with centering prayer, writing gratefulness prayers, practicing Tai Chi, taking contemplative walks, praying the daily office, meditating.
First, they lost me at "get up early." Second, why are these people here? They already have rituals. They appear to already have rich spiritual practices. What are they going to get out of this program? Where are the people like me who have no rituals, who are looking for way to create some? Where are those voices?
What about me?
It reminds me of gym advertisements. The buff, fit, healthy people they show in the ads are not the people who need the gym. Where am I in this picture?
What about me?
My “what about me” problems are SO small. I can laugh about the lack of representation, and when it really matters, I can try to speak up and hope to be heard. I recognize that.
There are people who have far more cause to ask, “what about me?” Chances are they are also people who have far fewer resources to be heard when they speak up.
Most of my bus riding in town is either directly to Rodney Square or to the Amtrak Station. Others have to transfer buses to get to school or work or home. Relying on buses in Wilmington is its own challenge. Now that buses have been moved out of Trolley Square, transferring buses can mean a walk of several blocks, regardless of the weather, with no shelter at the new bus stops. What about them?
Dave and I are fortunate to have good health care insurance, and relatively good health. Others have gone bankrupt because of medical bills and continuing medical problems. What about them?
I can go to any grocery store anytime I want, and pick from an overabundance of food. Others struggle to make it to the LCS food pantry at St. Stephen’s once a week for a few bags of very basic food. What about them?
We’ve been fortunate to attend college, and to send our children to college. Others struggle to find a school setting that can deal with a child who doesn’t grow up in the “perfect” environment. What about them?
I’m sensing that more people are speaking up, for themselves, and for those who otherwise lack voices.
A sampling of marches and protests in 2017/2018:
Women’s March on Washington
March for Life
Protests over immigration changes
Native People’s March on Washington
National Pride March
Women’s Equality Day
March for Racial Justice
March for Black Women
March for our Lives
They seem to be speaking for those who have been voiceless in the past, who don’t have huge resources to be heard. What about me? What am I doing to help?
Like good stewards of the manifold grace of God, serve one another with whatever gift each of you has received. Whoever speaks must do so as one speaking the very words of God; whoever serves must do so with the strength that God supplies, so that God may be glorified in all things through Jesus Christ. To him belong the glory and the power forever and ever. Amen. (1 Peter 4:10-12)
- Ann Iona Warner