|Blog by Ana Gonzalez|
As a hopeless idealist I can’t help it: I want Big Change RIGHT NOW!
After reading my daily news feeds, I feel saddened. My heart weights heavy in the updates about Syria, the disrespect for mother earth, undignified poverty, discrimination towards migrants, native Americans, people of color, LGBT, etc. Some days, I wish I had a magic wand that with a tap would turn hate into compassion; create a desire for a curious understanding. My idealist magic wand would heal pain, bring peace, end injustice, and fill all with joy. Let’s not forget, HUGS FOR EVERYONE! Then reality hits me. I don’t have an idealist magic wand. I am only one of 7 billion human beings living on Earth. Reality reminds me that BIG CHANGE is too overwhelmingly colossal for me to embrace.
While the facts provided by reality create in yours truly an overwhelming anxiety, in prayer a gentle whisper gives me hope! The peaceful insight evolves to a tender reminder that is offered during the season of advent. The time of Advent invites us to wait for the promise of light while surrounded by shorter, colder and darker days. The season of expectancy is unassuming in the reassurance of a certain hope offered by Jesus. During advent I am reminded to the gentle actions that created monumental changes; the acceptance by Mother Mary, the commitment by Joseph, the serene and unpretentious setting for the birth of Jesus. Advent invites me to fight my desire to make big change, and encourages me to embrace gentle actions. The season also inspires me to find inspiration in the unexpected, and last week my world was motivated by an unforeseen gentle action.
Last week, Sister Elizabeth Slenker, OP, invited us to a gallery opening showcasing her artwork. The invitation was surprising to me, as I was not aware that Sister was an artist. Through Sister’s very tranquil approach, I have to come to know a brilliant baker, a powerful woman that masterfully manages power tools, a creatively crafty preservationist and now a talented painter.
While experiencing the artwork at the sublime center, I found a moving experience. In the middle of a community that was known for injustice and discord, Sister Elizabeth was exhibiting gentle artwork that celebrated creation. Through the use of watercolors, the artist captured the unassuming beauty of creation in a harmonious manner. The exhibit became a prayerful experience and an invitation to seek harmony and peace! The gallery and the exhibit are examples of my personal Advent invitation to embrace gentle actions. The small gestures create a powerful invitation for harmony and peace.
The exhibit, gallery and season of Advent remind me of the well-known quote by Mahatma Gandi, “be the change you want to see in the world.” While I am only one woman in a large world, I can be what I wish for the world. In a gentle manner my small actions can be of inspiration and empower a positive change. I will work at embracing the small gentle actions and not be tempted to desire a magic wand that will fix the big problems. I am reminded to trust in God and the certain hope provided by Jesus.
As I conclude, I want to wish you a peaceful and insightful Advent. May you be surrounded by gentle actions that positively mark your life!
* For more information about Shepherding Images Studio & Good Shepherd Gallery or Sister Elizabeth's exhibit please visit http://www.shepherdingimages.com.