In response to the horrific violence in a grocery store in Kentucky and a place called The Tree of Life.

Autumn has always been a poignant time for me with the call of geese overhead as they fly away from the darkness of winter to come.

This year, darkness fell too fast and the familiar sound of geese replaced with gunshots, screams and weeping.

There is no making sense of it. There’s no fathoming the amount of hate turned to evil, violent acts. There’s no response that feels adequate.

There’s no end to the grief .

I think that this is the world as it has always been. I do not think it is more evil, or that present evil is more potent than ancient evil. I also don’t think that there is less good in it or that good has grown anemic or futile. But, the purpose and power of good is to BE good. We casually say, “for goodness’ sake” as a figure of speech but there is deep wisdom in it. Every generation has had to face this world and figure out how to find the courage to stand; to bring good to it, to speak truth to power, to comfort the grieving, to heal the sick, to feed and shelter the poor, to welcome the stranger and to love — to do it all with love for goodness’ sake.

Last night, I went to a prayer vigil/Shabbat service at a local synagogue. The congregation invited the community in to worship, grieve and to face the world with goodness and eventually joy. The worship space was full past capacity and spilled into the community rooms and people kept coming. I am so grateful to them for allowing us to stand with them and pray and rededicate to hating hate but not the hater. The power in the gathering moved us all. The space was so full of us and we were so close that no one could fall unless we all fell but all of us could lean and be braced.

I am again reminded of geese. When they fly in their vee-shaped skein, one leader faces the wind and sets the course and the whole flock behind benefits from the air currents rising off the wings of the geese ahead, providing them with lift. When the leader tires, she is replaced by a fresh volunteer and takes a place in the flock where she can rest and be upheld.

This is what we can do. We can stand together in the light of truth. We can hold and uphold one another in our grief. We can seek justice for those without a voice. We can vote. Together, we find the courage to bring goodness to this world which is ours to love.

KC Conway, LCSW
November 2, 2018
The Feast of All Souls