A Year of Renewal
by Robert Renwick
The queries for this issue of Spark asked, "Do you have a story from this year? Is there anything you've learned?"
I wonder, "How have I been affected by a womb-like space of semi-isolation?" I have been reborn. I have gained a renewed sense of who I am. As I walk my Dachshund, Karl, along Riverside, I find myself chanting "I am discovering who I am. I am remembering who I am." I've been stopped in my tracks. I notice vivid touches of beauty all around which had somehow previously been overlooked.
This has transpired largely, if not entirely, because this year has afforded an unprecedented experience of daily morning online worship at the Pendle Hill Barn, supplementing other weekly or occasional meetings for worship elsewhere, often with kindred spirits from around the globe. There has been regular worship sharing around thought-provoking queries with friends, old and new.
The gift of that online worship has been supplemented by the many other wonderful spiritual/educational/cultural events on the internet. Offline, I've returned to some of the long neglected authors who've enriched my life, catching up with the work they've done in the past decade or so. At the moment it's Alexandra Fuller. Barbara Kingsolver is next on my list.
It's also been a time of paying careful attention to those simple guidelines—mask up, wash hands, stay those six feet apart. Even having received that jab-in-the-arm vaccine I'm determined to maintain those practices until the danger is past.
The trials of this year have deepened my resolve to participate with zest in ferreting out my own racism and working toward its elimination as I can. I want to help advance the strides I've seen in other movements of liberation and not allow myself any sense of discouragement. It took a Stonewall, a tearing down of Bastille walls, a march across an Edmund Pettus bridge, and now we have relentless TV coverage of a pandemic urging me to engagement. I'm upping my tepid efforts toward combatting the economic and social injustices which cripple us. I repent of my complicity in the rape of Mother Earth. I'm much less content to sit idly by.
Thank you, Spark, for those questions and for sitting me down at my keyboard.