It’s Been A Week

Seeking a way to start again

As my pastor said today in his sermon, “It’s been a week.” He was referring, of course, to the many disturbing events that were in the forefront of the news.

  • Matthew Shepard was laid to rest 20 years after he was beaten and left to die because he was gay.
  • A caravan of people walking from Central America to our border, where 800 U.S. troops will prevent them from seeking asylum from the violence and poverty they are trying to leave behind.
  • A mentally unstable man and Trump supporter with a long rap sheet mailed pipe bombs to prominent Democrats.
  • Eleven people were gunned down inside the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh.
  • 400,000 children are at risk of dying from malnutrition in Yemen, where Saudi Arabia wages war by cutting off food supplies to civilians.

As a country, as a world, it has been a week. A week that reflects an ongoing intolerance of “the other.” Can the bar get any lower?

My pastor’s comment made me consider my week. Mine has been a week as well, but in a very different, hopeful way.

  • I began fostering an 18-month-old golden retriever rescued from neglect and abuse. After a few days of adjusting, she has shown that indomitable spirit of her breed.
  • A friend who was diagnosed with sarcoma this past summer and has been through chemo and two surgeries met with her oncologist, who gave her every reason to believe she is going to survive.
  • A dear aunt—the last of her generation in my family—passed away peacefully, surrounded by loved ones who were able to say their good-byes. While we will all miss her down-to-earth goodness, we will gather to celebrate her 94 years and acknowledge those other loved ones gone before her who are now welcoming her home.
  • I heard two wonderful authors speak. Min Jin Lee wrote Pachinko, a sweeping historical novel of Korean Japanese culture. Megan O’Gieblyn, a former teacher of mine, read from her collection of essays, Interior State, in which she explores being from the Midwest and her “deconversion” from an evangelical background.
  • Saturday I attended a class at The Loft, taught by Elizabeth Jarrett Andrew. Most of the participants are working on a full-length project and some are nearing completion. Elizabeth gave us a new lens for considering the power a finished manuscript continues to exert on us and the world, whether or not it’s published.

It has been a week. A week of feeling as if things are coming apart at the seams, and a week of sewing up, stitch by stitch, the torn places. Soon I will head to a nordic contemplative service, where the theme for these Sunday evening services is the chance to start again. Just what we all need.

4 thoughts on “It’s Been A Week”

  1. Thanks, Lenore. It’s important to bear witness to the ugliness of our world, even as it’s vital to bear witness to the grace as well. Rejoicing with you in these signs of hope.

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  2. Hello Lenore-
    Thank you for these words. You have so beautifully summarized an array of events before us, each if we let them weigh us down (as they should) but in total, quite a list of hardship…a huge strike against humanity and a reason to feel defeated, lost, out of control. I love that you are willing to probe these feelings in an honest way. It was wonderful to be in class with you on Saturday. I have hope that we can share our stories about this broken world of ours and be present for the suffering of others. I applaud your courage to confront these things that are before us, that we sometimes cannot articulate in a meaningful way, or choose to internalize and turn to gentler subjects. I have seen so much growth in your message and the way you tell it. Thank you. Debra

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      1. She spoke at the Hopkins Center for the Arts as part of the Hennepin County PenPal author lecture series, which I’ve done several years now. Also heard Timothy Egan and Amor Towles, both excellent. Honestly, this is one of the best literary events the Twin Cities has to offer.

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