About a month ago I was at the dentist for teeth cleaning. After a few minutes the sun light shining through a window shifted so it shown into my eyes. The hygienist gave me sunglasses. In another 5 minutes the sun had moved, hidden behind a tree, and was no longer shining in my eyes.
Guess what: the sun never hides behind a tree. Neither does it come out or go out, rise or set. The sun is always shining and will continue for billions of more years. What changes is us, not the sun. Yet with our ego-centric perspectives we ‘see’ the sun move. There is something quite profound in this.
Too often people perceive God in a similar way. Does God* come out to aid us or go away refusing to do so? Is God blocked by objects or shift with the time of day? If God is the One Power, Always Presence and All-Knowing benevolence that many believe, this makes no sense.
In this time of the pandemics of virus, fear and greed, it can be hard to see God or much good for that matter. From our human perspective, these are bad, for some terrible times. The corruption at the top of society has made many things worse. It is easy to believe in God as love when things are going well. When things seem to keep getting worse, it is more difficult yet more important to do so.
Faith for me, is not about believing in things I cannot perceive or in rituals that seem form over substance. Faith is the growing understanding that by choosing to ‘see the good,’ my life is better. This change enables me to be and act better, from my more generous instincts. It is not about denying the terrible things that happen. These need to be addressed when and where they can be addressed. This is about recognizing where my greatest power for positive life change lies; within me.
As we discover more how the incompetence and corrupt behaviors by our leaders have led to such a poor and belated response to the COVID-19 pandemic, it is discouraging. Worse, more people have and will die because of it. Yet if I only focus on this, that becomes my experience of life. If I look–and see–how people are helping one another, as well as recognize those leaders who are stepping up in responsible ways, I am encouraged to act similarly.
There are younger, healthier people volunteering to shop for groceries for the elderly and disabled here in San Francisco. A friend established a Facebook page, to connect those in need with those offering to help. Our Mayor London Breed took a risk making San Francisco (and the Bay Area) the first, large metropolitan area in the US to declare an emergency order for physical separation. So far, this has kept ‘the curve’ or increasing number of ill from overwhelming local hospitals.
I won’t be going back to the dentist soon. My retirement savings are worth significantly less with the market crash. The number of those dying from this virus continues to grow. The corrupt and inept leaders are still in charge in the United States.
Yet the sun still shines, the rain still falls, people are reaching out to old friends, and strangers are offering to help neighbors in need. The atmosphere is clearing of pollutants. The beauty of the human spirit is displayed by the health care workers risking their own lives to help others. Those who clean the public spaces, the grocery workers, mail people and safety personnel also continue to step up. I see each of them acting as the hands of God, caring for more than just themselves.
Yes, we need to speak up against the corruption of leaders be they in government, politics, the media, business or religion. Yet that is not enough. We, ourselves need to be examples of moral leadership in whatever forums we live, work and play.
You and I, indeed every person, can act as the hands of God, reacting and relating for the highest good for all. We won’t succeed all the time; that is in our nature. But the more we move out from behind the trees that block our light, the more the sunshine, the more God’s love will touch everyone.