Finding Truth in Pandemic Polarities - Onespirit Ministers in Connection

Finding Truth in Pandemic Polarities

Anne Cross reflects after being in circle with other Ministers musing on the pandemic wellness debate.

How blessed I am to belong to a community such as OSMIC where we can sit in circle, share from our hearts and listen with openness & trust. Though of course we do not all hold the same views on any subject it is paramount for us to hold all that arrives in a space with respect and as a personal learning opportunity.

The debate around the management of the pandemic has been at times particularly tense, especially within the wellness communities, our Minister community included. It felt important to bring us together as Ministers in circle to hear from all places. We have held 2 online listening circles.

The last line of my minister vow is ‘I will sing of God’s love from the rooftops’ and sometimes it varies to ‘ ……from the mountain tops’ if I’m outside and up a hill!

And sometimes I wonder about singing from the valleys. Especially if I’m on my hobby horse about something.

A lecturer I much respected would remind us during the conflict resolution module of my theology MA, that in times of conflict both sides might come down the mountain to the valley. To the place where expression of commonality might occur, where matters of the heart may be mutually shared.

In her book Braiding the Sweetgrass, Robin Kimmerer tells of her experience applying for her first degree at SUNY college of environmental science and forestry in New York. She describes sitting in front of the interview panel and responding to the question ‘why do you want to join the course’ with ‘because I want to understand why the Aster and the Golden Rods look so beautiful together’. This response was not the quantifiable, scientifically minded response that the lauded professor was looking for.

Robin cringed with shame that she had got it so wrong and was suitably grateful when accepted and joined the course. It was years later, with the confidence of education, that she discovered that there is indeed a scientific explanation for what she had first witnessed intuitively in her heart. That the Aster and the Golden rod at the most extreme ends of the spectrums of the colour wheel. And that together the Aster & the Golden Rod span the whole of the flowering season, thereby offering maximum time that the pollen gathering insects are attracted to these companion plants.

Robin now has the maturity to hold her curiosity, her intuition, her knowledge as one. This ability to articulate her curiosity, bound in up in the captivating story telling of her experience and scientific explanation is a delight. And we may learn from her how to hold our need to belong, our knowledge of the scientific and our intuitive and experiential spirituality together in one sweet braid.

Many of us have been operating from fear during the pandemic. Fear of mortality? Fear of our government? Fear of losing autonomy? My immune system is weak, will my community do its best to protect me? Fear of loneliness? Fear of breaking the law? Fear of the law? Fear of my neighbour whose view is different from mine?

One truth is out there somewhere, somewhere beyond anywhere any of us can know in this lifetime. For now, I know that your truth together with my truth is one whole lot bigger than anything I know on my own.

That is not to say that some ‘facts’ truly held, aren’t ‘false facts’. My interest lies not in changing another’s adherence to a false fact, but rather in hearing what’s going on for the one who makes the dogmatic assertion. And further, listening to what happens in me when I hear what’s being expressed.

Together we might all hold space that allows all to be held safely, in respect, and with the possibility of transformation for us all.

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