Each month, a member of the board will share a reflection on the Soul Matters monthly theme and the state of the church. This month’s post is offered by Cindy Busch.
Our UU Soul Matters theme for June 2020 is Compassion. (Interestingly, the original theme for June was Play, but it was changed to Compassion in the context of the pandemic.)
“Compassion [is] concern to enhance the welfare of another who suffers or is in need. This is different from empathy, which is the “mirroring or understanding of another’s emotion.” So empathy is feeling; compassion is action.” Jeremy Smith
Along with all of you, the senseless tragedy and outrageous circumstances of George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis on Memorial Day, May 25, 2020 has been painfully revealed to me through the last few days on TV news (both local and national stations), the Star Tribune, online, and on social media.
It has been through my compassionate UUCM friends and contacts that I have found the most helpful information – the online UUCM Wednesday Minister’s column, and many profound heartfelt postings online, on Facebook and Instagram. Almost all of these postings relate to our need not to just feel this pain, but to do something about the source of it. All of it brings me back to my experiences and the lessons I tried to learn in the Beloved Conversations curriculum. I feel the same intense inadequacies and helplessness that I felt throughout that course. The problems are so many and so very deep within our culture.
These UUCM friends and contacts shared resources which addressed this need for us to DO something. I found the following quotes from one shared source to be particularly helpful:
From Katie Anthony, “Five Racist Anti-racism Responses that “good” white women give to viral posts”. (Note: this article specifically addressed feminist reaction to the bird watcher in Central Park who happened to be black, a related event which also occurred this week.)
“Do not respond instinctively, but do not turn away.
It’s not about you, but you must be here to experience it.
You’re not the martyr, nor an innocent, nor the hero, nor the teacher.
You’re a witness. It’s not about you, but you must be present.
Do not respond like you always have. Not yet. Absorb it. Let it change you”.
And from Rachel Cargle‘s post on Instagram (also shared by Katie Anthony):
“When I keep you informed on the blatant abuse, racism and trauma happening (to people) of color and their families, I need to hear:
‘I’ve found an organization that helps in these types of instances and I’ve
‘I’ve brought this topic up to my coworkers and family so we can talk
through what’s happening.’
‘I’ve researched more on this and I have learned more about the history
of this particular race issue we have in our country.’
Your shock isn’t enough. Your wow isn’t solidarity. Your actions are the only
thing I can accept at this point.”
So, if we are people of compassion, what are we going to do?
— Cindy Busch
Member, UUCM Board of Trustees