What do you do when you’re feeling challenged?

I’ve been facing alot of challenges this month – I don’t know about you.

The turmoil of election season – and its results – challenged me. Deeply.

The surge in racially-motivated violence in the United States had me fear for the safety of many whom I love – including my own family.

The book I collaborated on received a scathing review from an influential website of professed siblings in Spirit.

Don’t get me wrong: It’s been a good month, too. Beautiful connections with family, friends, and loved ones. A great time at AAR/SBL in San Antonio – a gathering of over 10,000 religion and spirituality scholars who really care about the difference faith and scholarship makes in the world.

But there were times when I felt like I was losing my grip – on reality.

Times when challenges turned to grief turned to outright disorientation.

I mean, we lost Leonard Cohen, for goodness sakes. C’mon, 2016!

Like a good song, a good poem, a good movie or a good grief, I don’t want to rush to resolution. It would be an insult to my friends most effected by the tumult. It would be an insult to my own soul.

And…in the midst of all this challenge and disorientation and grief, I am open to encountering the One Whom I witness as being unconditionally here.

Fully in the pain, and yet also Deep Springs of Joy.

I’m open to this encounter in my day-to-day – walking in my neighborhood, logging onto social media, showing up at rallies for peace and justice in our time.

I experience this encounter in you.

And so, in the midst of challenge after challenge after challenge, and without rushing resolution, I pray – with our recently-departed Troubadour – Come healing of the spirit; come healing of the limbs.

Be kind to yourself, friend. Consider hugging or kissing someone close to you right now, and telling them how much you love them. If you don’t have such a one at-hand, ask the One in Whom you have breath, being, and a beating heart how you might be more available to Love – even today.

We’re all in this together.

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