Today’s Prompt: Write about a great delight.
It has been a spiritual challenge for me to reflect on the word delight today. Today I’ve felt much more pensive, even sad, than I have delighted. Today there was a hearing in Austin about licensing family detention centers as child-care facilities. It felt so sad to me because I remember last advent feeling this certainty that family detention was not long for this country. Certainly, I thought people will learn about how awful this is and shut it down. It hasn’t been shut down. The government is trying to institutionalize it.
I started out the day trying to write down some feelings about all of the hate-filled anti-Muslim speech that is flying around the twitterverse. I stared at the screen and wondered how scared my Muslim neighbors might be in these days. I plunked out some words that felt wholly insufficient.
I had a lot of work to do today and I worked through it steadily, but I needed a break. I kept getting distracted by the enormity of the world’s grief. (I know I’m not the only one who experiences this, amen?) Something reminded me about the fact that the Sandy Hook Massacre happened during my first advent in Texas. I cried through the entire sermon and my parishioners did too. My boys were both still drinking from bottles at the time. Sandy Hook + immigration detention + hate speech = Monkey brain. I decided to re-arrange my day and pick up Clayton from school, pick up Sam and Elias and go walk the Salado Creek trail. I figured I could come back to work late to finish up, which I did. It was the best decision of the day.
We let the boys run a few feet ahead of us and we saw them stop and point excitedly at the sky. When we caught up, we heard them saying “Rainbow! Rainbow!” It wasn’t a rainbow, just some wispy clouds streaked across the sky in an arc. They skipped along. We saw deer.
I thought about my responsibilities here on earth. Can’t I just ignore the fact that the world is full of hate and injustice and walk outside instead? I wondered. I was reminded of this famous rabbinical phrase: “It is not incumbent upon you to complete the work, but neither are you at liberty to desist from it.” In other words: we do what we can do. I can’t ignore the fact that immigration detention is still here, even though I want to. I can’t ignore all of these other things weighing on my heart this day either. But it’s not my responsibility to solve it all.
Today my delight was in seeing Clayton and Samuel skipping ahead of me, finding rainbows in the clouds and grabbing each other by the neck. They inspire me to do what I can do to make it so for other children too.
This post is a part of the 25 days of advent writing and photos that I’m doing with my church Northwood Presbyterian Church, San Antonio. For the writing portion, I’ve just set a timer for 20-30 minutes and whatever I have at the end of the time, I post. No editing past the time limit… no worries if there are errors or if I stare at the screen for the first 15 minutes. Giving it a try.