Message from Gretchen: All is Not Broken

Story author
Gretchen Baker-Smith
The image is of a group of teenagers sitting on the ground in a circle

Photo by Buddy Baker-Smith, ©2013

At times like these, I look for hope, for reminders that not all is broken. Often, I turn to a poem by Naomi Shihab Nye called Gate A-4. My copy of Tender Spot: Selected Poems falls open to it. More than a few times, I’ve read it aloud to Buddy at the end of a day, weeping long before the end. I can never seem to get beyond they took the cookies.

If you don’t know it, you should pause here and listen.

This is a time for paying attention to our roots, for reaching down, down into Holy Ground, entangling ourselves in each other, holding on together through all of the storms and challenges. Remembering, and reminding each other, that the Light, that of God, the Eternal is still here through it all. And with that steadiness, finding what we need to continue to be faithful, responding to the world as Way Opens, as Spirit leads. Sometimes it’s like walking into the wind during a Nor'easter: lean in, take smaller steps, pay attention to staying balanced. Other times it’s more of letting ourselves be covered in powdered sugar from shared cookies eaten while waiting inside for the storm to subside.

I know the world Naomi describes because I’ve seen it over and over and over in JYM and JHYM. I have so many stories of moments of such transformation. They ground me in the certainty that it can happen almost anywhere. Maybe you’ve been privileged to witness it, too. Maybe you yourself have been transformed by love. Or maybe you’ve seen it in the purple crocus that has worked its way up through the sidewalk crack to get to the Light. Wherever you have seen what is possible, honor, cherish, and hold onto the memories so that they can ground you, and remind you when you need it that all is not broken.

We need each other to keep hope, courage, faithfulness, inward listening, and joy vibrantly alive. Friends’ testimony of faithfully following the Light within necessitates these. They sustain us. And because few of us can constantly restock ourselves, our fellowship in community is essential. We must create safe spaces—whether in our local meetings, our youth programs, or in impromptu circles of airport seating hosted by a loving soul—where we can be vulnerable with each other. In sharing our stories, our sorrow and laughter, and our nudges of Spirit, we feed each other, helping each other stay rooted and grounded.

With gratitude and deep love to you, dear Friends,