I was recently blessed to participate in a Peer Spirit Circle conversation (by zoom video conference) with a small group of sisters from Giving Voice, an organization for younger women religious. The topic of conversation was how to face our fears and move to a response of love and building bridges in today’s world. We discussed how differences and conflicts are present within our own religious communities, neighborhoods, and at our country’s border. These are examples of places where fear, hurt and injustice exist and where a loving presence is needed.
Here are some of the main points we arrived at in our conversation:
- A good way of dealing with your fears and anxieties is to keep facing them. If you are out of your comfort zone in a new place with new people, particularly those different from us, it will get better with time.
- Dialogue can create a sacred space for people to listen to and hear one another. It can require patience and persistence. It is not always easy to speak the truth, but done well, it is the loving thing to do.
- We do not stand alone. We were reminded of how we are supported by both our individual religious communities and the Giving Voice community. In spite of loss due to aging communities and imperfect understanding of one another, we hold onto faith that this is the life God called us to. And as our CHM documents tell us, we “can accomplish what one alone cannot do in creating an environment of justice, love and peace.”
Having recently moved to Davenport from Great Falls, Montana, I can relate to being in a new place and feeling out of my comfort zone at times. Yet I am grateful to be here, desire to be here and feel privileged to have many good options available to me in life. So many in this world, such as immigrants and refugees, do not have options and live in fear from situations beyond their control. This conversation with my Giving Voice friends gave me hope. Beginning right at home, I can strive to be a loving presence. Knowing I am not on this journey alone and that nothing is impossible with God--who knows where it will lead?