I woke up to gray, the mountains obscured by haze and smoke.
My mood reminded me of SAD, Seasonal Affective Disorder, which is usually a winter issue here in my corner of Canada, when the clouds settle in for weeks on end and we long for the sun.
I try to pay attention to what my body is telling me... sometimes there are things I can do to lift my mood.
And I realized that the sadness was deeper yet... there is an oppression far beyond smoky skies and all that entails.
I realized the news had affected me too... news that has shaken many, as we have watched in horror what has unfolded in the state of Virginia. I have family there and it hits too close to home. I have written often against injustice and bullying. I believe in kindness and love. I don't need to describe what happened in Charlottesville, you can read that in the news. It has created a deep grief in my soul, a sadness that just won't lift.
I also realized this morning that I live in white privileged skin.
Really, I don't have much to say. Unless I begin to listen to my brothers and sisters, also part of God's creation, and hear their pain.
When I am sad, I often turn to art. I actually believe this can be a spiritual experience, for we are made in the image of the creator... all of us... and God has made us to be creative beings! Of course we are inspired by the handiwork and beauty we see all around us.
Today I did something very unusual. I was intrigued by a collaborative art project at the Vernon Art Center, something that is sponsored by various levels of government, a way of community building and showing respect to one another.
I was curious. So I showed up. A lovely young artist in Vernon has the vision of creating a mosaic river - created by many hands. Today I became one of those hands, working with another friend and a lovely group of people, both children and adults.
The artist explained that she chose the visual of water, a river ... a source of life for all of us, and how we need to care for our water resources. This fall, as part of RespectFest, this mosaic river will take shape in downtown Vernon, and it will be a lovely piece of art for years to come. You can read more about it here, at https://respectfest2017.com/public-art-workshops/, and even sign up to create a piece of this beautiful mosaic. Participating is free!
It seemed timely today. To work with people I never met, to share creativity, to be part of making something much bigger than I would create on my own. This was healing for me.
The blue and white tiles put together by my friend and I will be part of a much larger "river" of tiles that will flow in our downtown, this fall.
We all do our part. It might be speaking out against bullying, or sharing kindness with a stranger. It might be volunteering. It might be writing a letter to a government official. It might be as simple as getting to know your neighbour. It might be sharing a meal, or creating art together.
This is how we fight against oppression. By praying, by showing kindness, by loving, by acknowledging the many good women and men who make a difference in our broken world.
For me, today, it was placing broken tiles, one at a time, and knowing there was a bigger vision. And I know God has a bigger vision too. I can trust in that.