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I’ve started — and then deleted — this post half a dozen times.

The truth is, I don’t know what to say. I thought about writing about how I’ve had friends visiting, and it’s been a week of good food, lots of laughter, and an abundance of gin.

I considered posting my Reply from the Lassies from the Scots Hotel Burns Night last week.

I was going to write something more about grief and separation and how much better I’m feeling on a personal level.

But given the deep trauma the world is experiencing at the moment, I can’t access the words. I have emotional whiplash from the joyful time with friends and the distressing news coming out of the United States. I oscillate between gratitude for slow healing and horror at the president’s executive orders. One minute I’m overwhelmed by the inspiring work of people I encounter here, and the next I’m plunged into a visceral rage at the lack of compassion and integrity coming from certain world leaders.

Never before have I had to limit my exposure to the news in order to be able to sleep at night.

I’m going back to the States next week for a fortnight, and I’ve recently renewed my American passport which expired the day before the presidential election.  It arrived today. As I flipped through it, I saw the quotes on the visa pages, quotes which articulate American values of freedom and equality, values which are now on a grand scale being undermined by the president’s damaging executive orders.

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It is immigrants who brought to this land the skills of their hands and brains to make of it a beacon of opportunity and hope for all men. 

The cause of freedom is not the cause of a race or sect, a party or a class — it is the cause of humankind, the very birthright of humanity. 

We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. 

These are poignant words which seem to bear no relation to what is coming out of the White House at the moment.

We are now living in a dangerous time, a time when an arrogant, ignorant, woman-hating, torture-supporting, xenophobic, racist man holds enormous power and in ten days has unleashed chaos and inflicted pain across the world.

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This is a time for prayer, for protest, for prophecy, for passion, for preaching, for petition.

But there is a risk that we will be overwhelmed by what will come in the weeks and months and (God forbid) years ahead of us.

There will be times when we will feel surrounded by the dark, so we must also seek the light.

There will be times when we will weep bitter angry tears, so we must also thank God for small simple moments of joy and laughter.

There will be times when we will lament and protest acts of evil until we are almost hoarse, so we must also celebrate loudly acts of kindness, compassion, and generosity.

There will be times when we will want to be aware of all that is going on politically in order to engage on local, national and international levels, so we must also unplug, go for a walk, enjoy beauty, breathe deeply, eat well, read books that nourish our souls, and rest.

There will be times when our concern for the most vulnerable in our world will consume our thoughts and make our hearts ache, so we must also hold near to us the people whose friendship and love sustains us.

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In these uncertain times, hope is resistance, kindness is resistance, compassion is resistance, creativity is resistance, hospitality is resistance. Do justice. Love mercy. Walk humbly with your God. Love has the power to heal the deepest of wounds. And without love, we gain nothing.

 

4 thoughts on “without love, we gain nothing

  1. Thank you, Kate. I’ve always loved that Isaiah 58 passage. The only good thing coming out of all this seems to be that because it is so extreme, it is uniting people of all backgrounds and beliefs and they are working together against Trump.

  2. We’re all, including non-US citizens, shedding tears of impotent rage at what is happening to the world – and Brexit brings its own traumas.
    But the ‘slow healing’ is real too. Deo gratias.

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