The Zillions of Wonderful Things That Never Make It On The News


I woke up feeling disheartened this morning.

I was pondering a number of troubling news stories that we’ve heard in more depth over the last few weeks. And of course, they’re troubling because these are always more than news stories. These stories represent real people — real, human lives, upended. It’s crucial at times to feel our sadness, anger, and confusion in relationship to these things. We have human connections with people who are suffering. And right alongside those feelings, it’s just as vital to feel resolve, so that we are empowered to act in different directions.

But sometimes, we just feel disheartened.
This happens, and it’s okay.

And this is also true:

Every single day, a host of wonderful things happen which never make it on the news. I know this to be true. You probably do too. I don’t bring this up to negate the realities of suffering that we know and hear about, or to lessen the impacts of them, including inside ourselves. We need to feel that. It’s just that at the same time, every single day, there are moments of collective action, solidarity, bravery, wonder, meaning, kindness, compassion, protection, and transformation. These are happening. They can hearten us, and they can help us with the resolve and empowerment we need.

On Tuesday, I sat in the balcony of the Michigan Capitol alongside many people from the Poor People’s Campaign, and from there, we watched the Michigan House of Representatives do business. Until. . . we didn’t. Some people started singing,

Somebody’s hurting poor people,
and it’s gone on far too long,
gone on far too long,
gone on far too long.

Somebody’s hurting poor people,
and it’s gone on far too long,
and we won’t be silent anymore.

Everyone chimed in and added their voices to the singing, and collectively, we shut down business as usual. The Michigan House of Representatives had to adjourn. Can you imagine? The body that is voting in the direction of adding work requirements to Medicaid is stopped by folks singing about the hurt being done to poor people.

It’s wonderful. Do you know that this barely made a blip on the news?

Today, a number of people I know — many of them connected to the Presbyterian Peace Fellowship — are starting to walk on foot from Louisville, Kentucky to St. Louis, Missouri, where leaders from the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) will soon meet for their biannual General Assembly. These leaders are calling attention to ecological devastation and advocating for the PC(USA) to divest from fossil fuels. These folks wrote the overtures, they got people in Presbyteries around the country to sign onto this hope, and now, they are walking 260+ miles with their bodies to call attention to it.

It’s wonderful. I hope this will become more than a blip on the news. But I’m sure it will have great impact upon this vote to divest.

We have to feel our feelings, yes, and we need empowerment to act.

Pain is abundant at times, and it needs our attention. But change is still possible.

Renee Roederer

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