Re-collection

Reblogged from Granite State Walker

I walk for fun, to explore, to more-or-less exercise. I also walk to keep my head on straight. I wouldn’t have gotten through today without a couple of miles outside.

I’m a political critter, you see. I’ve been a campaign staffer, an activist, a blogger from the State House, to name a few pastimes. Yesterday was election day after the nastiest campaign year I’ve ever experienced. This has been a backed-up-sewer of a season.

Nothing will flush it out except time on the trails.

Continue reading “Re-collection”

Merton on activism and “the real hope”

I’m indebted to Frank Weathers at Patheos for bringing Thomas Merton’s Letter to a Young Activist to my attention. The Patheos post came just after the 2012 election, after I had been a staff member on a statewide political campaign that fell short. Merton’s words were just what I needed to hear and ponder.

I offer an excerpt for your consideration, at the end of a campaign that makes 2012 look like a walk in the park. Go to the polls, for sure, but go with discernment and a spirit devoid of bitterness.

Do not depend on the hope of results. When you are doing the sort of work you have taken on, essentially an apostolic work, you may have to face the fact that your work will be apparently worthless and even achieve no result at all, if not perhaps results opposite to what you expect. As you get used to this idea, you start more and more to concentrate not on the results but on the value, the rightness, the truth of the work itself. And there too a great deal has to be gone through as gradually you struggle less and less for an idea and more and more for specific people. The range tends to narrow down, but it gets much more real. In the end, it is the reality of personal relationships that saves everything.

The big results are not in your hands or mine, but they suddenly happen, and we can share in them; but there is no point in building our lives on this personal satisfaction, which may be denied us and which after all is not that important….

The great thing after all is to live, not to pour out your life in the service of a myth: and we turn the best things into myths. If you can get free from the domination of causes and just serve Christ’s truth, you will be able to do more and will be less crushed by the inevitable disappointments. Because I see nothing whatever in sight but much disappointment, frustration and confusion.

The real hope, then, is not in something we think we can do but in God who is making something good out of it in some way we cannot see. If we can do God’s will, we will be helping in this process. But we will not necessarily know all about it before hand.

Shared on #WorthRevisit linkup with Reconciled to You and Theology is a Verb.

An Election Day destination (not the polls)

Much as I appreciate my freedom to exercise Catholic citizenship, I’ll be relieved to get past this election, bitter and noisy and chaotic as it is. I don’t think I’m the only one who feels that way.

Whoever handles social media for my local Diocese brightened my Facebook feed the other day with a simple announcement that the cathedral would be open all day Election Day for anyone wanting to stop in and pray. I love that. 

It’s not that I think prayer on Election Day is any more efficacious than prayer on any other day. Rather, this is a gentle and public reminder that while this election is important, there are things that are more important. It’s an invitation to walk away from the noise and the signs, catch one’s breath, and be renewed in spirit by the Presence in the tabernacle. 

Sure, I’ll vote. I’ll even be holding a sign for a friend who is running for office. But first things first.