Love – For Reflection

Our 30(ish) Days of Love and Reflection run from MLK Day to Valentine’s Day, so today we end with a quote on love from The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who said:

Power without love is reckless and abusive, and love without power is sentimental and anemic. Power at its best is love implementing the demands of justice, and justice at its best is power correcting everything that stands against love.

How will you use your power and love in the service of justice?

Justice & Peace Heart

I invite you to a day of reflection on this question.

#30DaysOfLoveAndReflection – Day 27 (a final post)

Introduction to 30 Days of Love and Reflection


My Reflection

I like this quote because I think power gets a bad rap. Because we are all too familiar with the misuse of power, we sometimes forget that we can and must use power for good – for love and justice.

I have found that a month of daily reflections on the themes of love and justice, difference and belonging, have focused by attention on what is needed in the world today in a new way. It’s not that I wasn’t aware of the issues before, it’s just that by keeping them more “in my face” and therefore in my heart and mind, the pervasiveness of the issues and the challenges before us have become more apparent. Curiously, I am also more optimistic. I think that I am also perceiving an increasing willingness in our community and in our nation to talk about race, inequality, poverty, and so many other issues that intersect with these. My commitment is to use my power to foster these conversations and to empower others to help bend the arc of the universe toward justice.

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Liberation – For Reflection

Ban Ki-moon (Secretary-General of the United Nations since 2007) wrote:
Defeating racism, tribalism, intolerance and all forms of discrimination will liberate us all, victim and perpetrator alike.

How does the end of discrimination toward people different from yourself help to liberate you?

Justice & Peace Heart

I invite you to a day of reflection on this question.

#30DaysOfLoveAndReflection – Day 26

Introduction to 30 Days of Love and Reflection


My Reflection

My vision of the world as is should be assumes the full equality of all people in terms of legal standing and social acceptance. To the degree that such equality is not present I am deprived of the opportunity to live in the world of my dreams.  This seems like such a selfish way to way to frame it… but that’s what the questions asked. I cannot be fully at peace until all people have justice. I would like to believe that I am motivated to work for justice for unselfish reasons, out of deeply held convictions and compassions for others. I think I usually am but it is interesting to see how I benefit too. I wonder if there is some part of my brain that will respond to this and help me to dig deeper and to keep  going when the struggle seems daunting.

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Improving the World – For Reflection

Anne Frank (German-Jewish diarist, 1929-1945), wrote:
How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.

So often we wait until we have all the answers, or at least more info, before we act for good. What good can you do without waiting a single moment?

Justice & Peace Heart

I invite you to a day of reflection on this question.

#30DaysOfLoveAndReflection – Day 25

Introduction to 30 Days of Love and Reflection


My Reflection

So the question I added after the quote really exposed my own “stuff.” I can be a data collector. I want to know more, in fact everything, before I act so that I don’t make a mistake. I do believe that I have gotten better at this over time. I have realized that life is sufficiently complicated that complete knowledge is rarely possible. I am learning to make my best guess at correct action while trying to be open to new knowledge that might show me a better way or even prove me wrong.  I have also admitted that not to make a decision is, in fact, to make a choice. I still like data, but now I can act for a better world, knowing that revelation continues to unfold.

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Fire – For Reflection

Frederick Douglass (US abolitionist and journalist, 1817-1895) wrote:
For it is not light that is needed, but fire; it is not the gentle shower, but thunder. We need the storm, the whirlwind, and the earthquake. The feeling in the nation must be quickened, the conscience of the nation must be roused, the propriety of the nation must be startled, the hypocrisy of the nation must be exposed: and its crimes against God and man must be denounced.

Douglass wrote these words over 160 years ago (more here). Was he right then? Are his words still true today?

Justice & Peace Heart

I invite you to a day of reflection on these questions.

#30DaysOfLoveAndReflection – Day 24

Introduction to 30 Days of Love and Reflection


My Reflection

I chose Douglass’ words last evening before remembering that “Race Relations” would be the Hot Topic for the League of Women Voters of Orange County’s monthly lunch today. At the event, it was refreshing to hear some frank talk about a subject that we, as a society, are trying to discuss – but are not quite engaging effectively yet.

The stories told by several of the black speakers were jarring. They certainly helped to do things like “rouse the conscience” for those in attendance. Journalist Darryl Owens read us a letter that he had eceived today (in 2015) that was just appalling in both its racism and incivility.  At some level, I know this happens all the time, in spite of the apparent progress that has been made. Yet, as a white woman, it is not in my face all the time.

The panelists spoke of our need to be in conversation with each other, the importance of dialog. I asked what conversations they thought were most important for us to have. As I understood his answer, Chief Judge Belvin Perry said it was the conversations that help us to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes. I think he’s right. One panelist shared a lot of statistics and they were interesting but they did not move me like the personal stories. It is the telling of real, lived experience through which the propriety of the nation must be startled, the hypocrisy of the nation must be exposed.

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Miracles – For Reflection

Thích Nhất Hạnh (Vietnamese Buddhist Monk and Peace Activist) wrote:
People usually consider walking on water or in thin air a miracle. But I think the real miracle is not to walk either on water or in thin air, but to walk on earth. Every day we are engaged in a miracle which we don’t even recognize: a blue sky, white clouds, green leaves, the black, curious eyes of a child — our own two eyes. All is a miracle.

What miracles will you notice today? What miracles can you help others appreciate by the way you live your life?

Justice & Peace Heart

I invite you to a day of reflection on these questions.

#30DaysOfLoveAndReflection – Day 23

Introduction to 30 Days of Love and Reflection


My Reflection

I have appreciated this quote for many years. It reminds me, too, of the Peter Mayer song Holy Now, which you can listen to here.

Today I found miracles in the faces and lives of the women of our Alliance. I love that every Tuesday I can wander from my office to the social hall and find this amazing group of people who have lived such noble and interesting lives and who continue to live with courage and love. I am inspired by them in the living of my own life. I hope I can be like them in helping other to remember what is really important and to avoid getting caught in things that are not essential.

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The Last of Human Freedoms – For Reflection

Victor Frankl (Austrian psychiatrist and author, 1905-1997), wrote:
We who lived in concentration camps can remember the men who walked through the huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread. They may have been few in number, but they offer sufficient proof that everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of human freedoms–to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.

How have you exercised your freedom to choose your own attitude? In what ways might you, with more intention, choose your way?

Justice & Peace Heart

I invite you to a day of reflection on these questions.

#30DaysOfLoveAndReflection – Day 22

Introduction to 30 Days of Love and Reflection


My Reflection

I’d like to think that my optimistic outlook is a creation of my free exercise of choice. However, I think that some of it is the result of biology and some the result of my life experiences. So, at one level, I’m not sure that I truly agree with Frankl. However, at another level I think it is a good belief to hold. I think that the mere act of holding the belief makes it more likely that we will make positive choices no matter what the reality of our biology and experience.

(It would probably take a whole sermon to make this make sense. It has to do with my love-hate relationship with the idea of freewill.)

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Act, Write, Speak, Be – For Reflection

Audre Lorde (Caribbean-American writer, womanist, lesbian, and civil rights activist, 1934-1992) wrote:
I realize that if I wait until I am no longer afraid to act, write, speak, be, I’ll be sending messages on a ouija board, cryptic complaints from the other side.

Are you afraid to act, write, speak, be?  Will you anyway? What do you think of those who do?

I invite you to a day of reflection on these questions.

Who needs to be empowered? In what way can you be part of that empowerment?

Justice & Peace Heart

I invite you to a day of reflection on these questions.

#30DaysOfLoveAndReflection – Day 21

Introduction to 30 Days of Love and Reflection


My Reflection

I’ve talked to many people who have regretted not speaking up sooner. Often people wish they had spoken to someone who has died. Now opportunities for potentially fruitful conversations are gone.

I hadn’t really thought about regretting not speaking up in general, on issues of the day. I love the image of trying to send messages back after death, via Ouija board. What a frustration… and how much more effective to speak the truth, clearly, while we still can.

As Unitarian Universalists, we often remark that we don’t worry about what happens after we die. Instead, we are concerned about how we live this life. To make a difference in this life, though, we need to act, write, speak, be… now. Waiting until we are unafraid could take a long time, and there are people who need our voices now. We need to learn to act, write, speak, be… sooner rather than later. And, we need to empower others to do the same.

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