I feel profoundly concerned about the direction our our politics are headed. Just reading the headlines depresses me—but ultimately, I don’t want to check out from what’s happening in the world. My children are counting on me to preserve a just, free, and beautiful world for them to inherit.
Perhaps you’ve felt this too; concerned about the direction we’re headed, but helpless to influence any change.
The Cure for Helplessness
As I work through my discouragement about struggles both abroad and at home, I try to remember this one fact:
OTHERS HAVE PASSED THIS WAY BEFORE.
When I remember this, I loosen the chains of powerlessness and victimhood. I recall the courage of people who didn’t ask for trouble, but responded with conviction when trouble came. I feel the invitation to learn from others who were resilient and persistent in standing for truth, virtue, and justice.
When I remember that others have passed this way before, I compassionately recognize how my privilege has made me soft. I recognize how, because of my place in society as an educated white heterosexual male, I haven’t faced the same struggles that others have faced all their lives. I honor that others built their resilience through years of persevering in a struggle for justice.
If I truly want to build a beloved community, nation, and world, I accept that I need to exercise and stretch in uncomfortable ways. I have to become resilient working through my fears if I’m to help build a world that I’d be glad for my children (and my children’s children) to inherit.
I know I’m not the only one facing this.
We need to do the hard work of figuring out how to work together, despite our fears and differences.
Examples of Resilience
Are you looking for inspiration and staying power in the struggle for liberty and justice? I know I am!
It’s only fitting during Black History Month that we look to civil rights leaders who worked tirelessly to establish a more just and equal society. We can look to the examples of Vincent Harding, Ruby Sales, Martin Luther King Jr., Bayard Rustin, Senator John Lewis, and Maya Angelou. They have passed this way before. We can learn so much from their wisdom, perseverance, humanity, love, and dignity.
I’ve recently taken courage from these words of resilience from a contemporary, Lauryn Hill:
“If everyone is a product of this society, who will say the things that need to be said, and do the things that need to be done, without compromise? Truth will never start out popular in a world more concerned with marketability than righteousness. It will initially suffer ridicule and even violence–yet ultimately it is undeniable. All of humanity is living in a dream world, but suffering real consequences.”
― Lauryn Hill
I’m curious: whose example do you turn to when you need to dig deep? Please share your inspiration in the comments below! (I’ll also share a few links there to resources I’ve found helpful)
6 thoughts on “Others have passed this way before”
I a sad why I don’t go to church as I always did I have no energy foe it
Help me hurting so so badly I love ❤️ the lord give me church back
There are lots of great resources out there! I follow Pope Francis and Eugene Peterson on Twitter. I also have been re-reading chapters 22 and 25 of the Book of Matthew. Thank you for reminding me that this is not the first time in history where people have struggled.
Beautifully stated, Paul!
The website http://www.civilconversationsproject.org/ has a lot of great podcasts with some of the people I mentioned above: John Lewis, Ruby Sales, and Vincent Harding. You can also find some of these interviews on the On Being podcast with Krista Tippett.
Help single poor grandma raising 5 year old his mom has brain damage she is up and down curses me out badly I have no famil I always went to church hope god forgives me help me I am so poor as well no husband in 9 years please help me to want to be at church I was going to Catholic Church 4 ever know I go to Christian church