Lately, I have been seeing a great deal of posts on social media that state things to the effect of “I wish we could go back to the good old days.” These kinds of posts seem to point to a yesteryear of whimsy and utopia, where everything was supposedly better than it is today. But were the “good old days” really all that good?
After all, the good old days where also a time when women “knew their place” in a patriarchal society, where people of color were segregated so it would be monocultural, where those with other beliefs were systematically shut down and where rampant homophobia was the norm and accepted. If you were different, you were not accepted
It was a time that I am quite frankly am glad we no longer live in.
Last week, as I sat in my usual pew in the back of my church, I reflected on the word sanctuary as I sat in one. Not only is the word the correct terminology for a place of worship, but it also means rest. It means safety. It means refuge.
It also means a place to protect wildlife, but that’s a whole other tangent!
Of course, when I thought of a sanctuary and the meanings of the word, I thought of the scene from Disney’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame, in which Esmeralda takes sanctuary in the cathedral.
“God help the outcasts… Hungry from birth…..Show them the mercy…..They don’t find on Earth….God help my people… They look to you still…God help the outcasts….. Or nobody will….”~ sung by Heidi Mollenhauer, written by Alan Menken and Stephen Schwartz
We need sanctuaries in our lives. We need places of rest. We need places where we can let go of the things that bind us, mentally and physically. We need places where we can gather together with other people who are as imperfect as we are yet seeking the same kind of rest we are seeking.
But we also need to create sanctuaries for others as well. We need to find ways to create safe spaces where everyone has the right to be noticed for who they are and what they can bring to the table of humanity. But we can’t do that without confronting our own prejudices and our own fears so that we can change our own beliefs on the world. To turn the world upside and heal it, we need to face what we are afraid of in others. we need to find that spark within them that is a part of every human being on this planet.
Not only do we need to write our own stories, we could and we should help write the story of this world so that everyone has a better, brighter future.
So dear readers, like Esmeralda, I ask for nothing for myself, since I can get by. I have found my safe spaces, my quiet recharges, my sanctuaries. But others, they are still looking. They need someone who is willing to challenge their own prejudices and open their arms and welcome them. They want to look to the future, where everyone has a “good day” instead of only a select few.
I will try my best to do my part.
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