Suzanne Marlatt Stewart
I think more than ever, we are very anxious and living with a lot of “unknowns.” Will there be another major pandemic this year? How long will the war in Ukraine continue? Will inflation continue at an all-time high? Will the value of my home decrease? Should I consider moving, but where, with so many regions of the world experiencing weather changes?
A third of our teenagers have been impacted with the COVID pandemic. Isolation is a major emotional issue. Our own grandson’s behavior changed this last year, having feelings of hopelessness and fear of the future.
Statistics show that gun violence has risen and even with all the new safety features on cars, traffic accidents have increased.
The author of Eat, Pray, Love, Elizabeth Gilbert, shares the following story.
“Some years ago, I was stuck on a crosstown bus in New York City during rush hour. Traffic wasn’t moving. The bus was filled with cold, tired people. Rage was in the air; no mercy would be found here. But as the bus approached Seventh Avenue, the driver got on the intercom. ‘Folks,’ he said, ‘I know you have had a rough day and you are frustrated. I can’t do anything about the weather or traffic, but here is what I can do. As each one of you gets off the bus, I will reach out my hand to you. As you walk by, drop your troubles into the palm of my hand.’ At the next stop, just as promised, the driver reached out his hand, palm up, and waited. One by one, all the exiting commuters placed their hand just above his and mimed the gesture of dropping something into his palm.
“We live in a ‘me first, my rights’ world. Sometimes it is extra difficult to be a human being. You have a bad day. Sometimes you have a bad day that lasts for several years. There are times when everything seems cloaked in darkness. You long for the light but don’t know where to find it.
“But what if you are the light? What if you are the very agent of illumination that a dark situation begs for? That’s what this bus driver taught me, that anyone can be the light, at any moment. This bus driver wasn’t some big power player. He wasn’t a spiritual leader. He was a bus driver, one of society’s most invisible workers. But he possessed real power, and he used it lovingly for our benefit.
“What can I do, right now, to be the light? Of course, I can’t personally end wars or solve global warming. I have no power over someone else’s anger. But I do have some influence on everyone I meet, even if we never speak or see them again.
“No matter who you are, or where you are, or how mundane or tough your situation may seem, I believe you can illuminate your world. In fact, I believe this is the only way the world will ever be illuminated, one bright act of grace at a time.”
Rev. Suzanne is an independent writer and speaker, who lives in SaddleBrooke. Her focus is “inclusive.” She was ordained non-denominational in 1988, representing all faiths. Contact her at [email protected]