This morning I pray from a place within myself, for humanity and for acceptance to honour what is in my world right now. It’s not an easy prayer, it’s filled with so much pain, anger, resentment, shame, humiliation and gratitude, compassion, vulnerability from a deep place of knowing. There is this constant inner knowledge that all that is happening around me is temporary and part of what is and I know that it is only with the Grace of the Divine that I see the bigger picture and can breathe in and breathe out knowing that everything is in Divine Perfection.
But, how do I reconcile the suffering and pain that I witness, experience and feel when I look into the eyes of a beggar at the traffic lights who has nothing, but a smile for me, or a student standing up and putting their whole education on the line for justice and equality that has never really been there. Or a woman brutally beaten by the partner that she loves so much and who is so broken that she doesn’t know how to be anything else but a victim of her circumstances. The water that is so polluted and the drought that is sucking every bit of life out of the land, the bees that are becoming an endangered species or the oceans that are so polluted by plastic — the list is endless.
But today I pray for more than reconciliation or understanding for all this, today I pray for a way to find peace within me, when my friends and the people that I love and respect, have certain fundamental different values and beliefs that seem to emerge around political or religious debate. And this is so evident on social media now as its daily, current, and gives opportunity for people to comment and express. Today I pray for the ability to express the concept of privilege which seems to be at the core of so many discussions and debates around so many issues in the world at this time. I pray for people’s hearts to open and for them to just for a moment in time, get out of their own way and acknowledge what coming from privilege really means. I am a white South African, a status that gives me privilege just by the mere fact that I benefited while other’s suffered and were deprived in a system that damaged people on levels that diminished their dignity. But my ancestors, who came from Latvia and had to leave their homes and life, were not privileged in their life story and being a Jew has its own pain and victimisation. And yet coming to South Africa at the beginning of the 1900’s gave them privilege and opportunities different to the indigenous people. My prayer is about my own understanding and acceptance of the self-righteousness and blatant racist speech that is invoked in people, when those who suffer say it’s enough and who, because of their frustration at not being heard, take action that is uncomfortable and emotive. The insidious acceptance of systems that separate, undermine, negate and belittle are more accepted than the outspeaking, protesting, calling for action, gathering and demanding. And this is judged, negated, filled with indignation and comments that bring up language that is filled with racist comments, blaming and discussing about ‘they’ or ‘them’ as if they are not human or part our life and our world. Where do they go? How are they heard? Those whose lives are negated and pushed aside by people with privilege. Today I pray for understanding and my own tolerance. Today I pray for humanity. Amen.