I found these words in one of the wisdom books that I turn to for inspiration and grounding: “Native Wisdom for White Minds” by Anne Wilson Schaef. The author frames this concept around nature and gardening: she tells about fighting a fast-growing “weed” on her property, only to realize that it was serving a useful function.
Where am I experiencing struggle? What am I trying to control in my life? How might I re-frame these things through the lens of observation and wonder? I would invite all of us to consider these questions.
For me, two things come up that I am trying to control—and feeling the struggle of doing so. Both are negative: systemic racism and the global pandemic. Really big things! Can observation and wonder contribute to my anti-racist work? Yes, if I seek to notice racism and white supremacy: in myself, in my close circle, my wider community, and society at large. Noticing means opening my eyes to the racist attitudes and behaviors that are the water I’m swimming in. And then, I can begin to learn.
I am struggling with this pandemic also, and wishing I had some control. I suppose that an attitude of wonder might mean leaning into this moment. This is an unprecedented moment of confronting a common natural enemy, which affords the opportunity to come together in common purpose, common action, and common compassion. I am optimistic that new federal leadership and the promise of a vaccine in 2021 will allow us to pull together for a difficult winter of isolation. It will take all of our spiritual discipline and all of the loving community we can muster to succeed. And we will learn a lot in doing so.
In thinking about these things and my attitude towards them, another piece of wisdom comes to mind: the Serenity Prayer.
May we have the serenity to accept the things we cannot change,
the courage to change the things we can,
and the wisdom to know the difference.
May it be so.
Rev. Andrew Frantz