Thursday, December 19, 2019

Staying Connected

by: Jessica Reznicek, first printed in the Hildegard House CatholicWorker Newsletter, Duluth MN
newsletter, Fall, 2019 News letter p. 7; reprinted with permission

Time certainly can reveal to us so much about who we truly are when we are attentive and present in our journey. As I grow, everything within me seems to be slowing down. Calming down. And I like it.
I’ve been learning about the courage it takes to simply be still. Still enough to feel the grace of God’s love pour into my heart. As I explore the art of sitting quietly in silent space, I hear the Holy Spirit urging me to stay connected. To remain in awareness of my connection with God, with others, with all creation, as well as with my authentic myself gives me a deep sense of gratitude for all life everywhere.

As I look around at the world we are living in today, I am so often saddened by the crisis I see in seemingly every direction. Personal Crisis. Spiritual crisis. Social crisis. Economic crisis. Political crisis. Ecological crisis. I believe that we are at a turning point in history, and that people everywhere are sensing it...whether we are able to fully comprehend it, I'm not sure, but there are vast expanses of God’s creation dead and we can certainly feel it because we are all interconnected. As we as a species are waking up to the severity of the irreversible ecological damage we are facing, humans everywhere are scrambling to figure out innovative ways to both maintain our current life-style and address global crisis issues simultaneously. In large part, I think that these two things are in-compatible. Without addressing the underlying symptoms of what is driving us all apart, we are unlikely to survive.

I know in my life I long for belonging and health and happiness. It seems that so many of us are trying to live a life laid on a flimsy foundation of disconnectedness, but that is not living. That is dying. We have become disconnected from our very livelihood itself.

From our food source, our life source (trees and water), our communities, and our Creator. We have turned instead to worlds of obsession, fantasy, escapism which takes all forms, from drugs … to television to food to shopping to traveling, forever searching for the thing that will fill the void. At times it feels like madness everywhere I look, inward and outward. I think the overall mentality of the current human crisis we find ourselves in today is one I understand very, very well. It breaks my heart to really face my own suffering, and to feel the suffering of my human family, animal relatives and earth.

I believe that first we must understand that we need trees and plant life to breathe, we need water to live...we are so very dependent on all of creation, but our pride often tells us we are not connected, needing no one and no thing, which leaves us feeling isolated and separated, a belief system which ultimately leads to spiritual destitution and eventual death. In truth, our eyes need the splendidly colorful beauty of our Earth to gaze upon. And science tells us that when our bare skin touches the earth, we experience healing. We need deep breaths of fresh morning air to reinvigorate us when we get lost in our bring us back to that deep appreciation of the present moment. For the well-being of our mind, body and spirit...we need her! This sacred beauty God intended to be an eternal source of delight and hope. And just look at what we've done to her. After all she's given us, we see her only as a resource to be exploited.

I think that to survive, we must be ready to embrace change. We are going to have to ignite revolutionary creativity and develop courageous openness to try something we've never done before. And no one person can do this alone. We need to learn to trust one another again... which means being vulnerable. And that is terrifying for most people. It means scaling way back and way down and admitting to ourselves and others that we can't do it alone. It means returning to the land. Growing our own food. Getting rid of our cars. Rebuilding community. And to do all of this, to accomplish even one of these things begins first with repairing our broken relationship with God.

What I’m learning is that our true gift is just simply to be here and to be a part of it all, in existence, that is, no more and no less. The true gift is LIFE! So, what might it be like, I wonder, to live in awareness of God’s love for me and all creation? To live in full appreciation of the gift of life God has given me? And as I begin to imagine these beautiful and exciting ways of being, I think about what tools it might take to get there. Some concepts which seem to surface time and time again are: love, trust, vulnerability, whole hearted'ness and connection.

Reznicek, along with Ruby Montoya, were former Des Moines Catholic Workers.  They have since moved on, but keep in touch.  They are waiting for word on their court case related to their actions against equipment from the Dakota Access Pipeline. If you’d like her address to write to her, you may contact Iowa Peace Network:

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