And it happens again. And it happens again. And just when we think it cannot possibly happen here, or here, or here, it happens again.

Here in America, our crisis with guns and violence has so many complicated aspects to it, all of which are worthy of exploration. But for now, I just want to sit with this question:

Where do we find courage, hope, and renewal in the face of the unimaginable?

The voices and images from the church shooting in Texas took me straight back to another major shooting that happened in a church in 2008: in a UU church in Knoxville, Tennessee. The circumstances were eerily similar: an enraged ex-husband taking his anger out on the faithful innocents. When he charged into the church with his guns and bullets a children’s choir was singing the song from Annie: “The sun will come out, tomorrow…” And, in the face of that horror, it felt like it would never come out again.

There is no easy prescription for what it takes to step into the next day with any sense of hope. Especially with evidence of the human capacity for violence bombarding us almost every day.

I do know what helped the folks in Tennessee get through: the love shown to them by their community.

Not just the members of their own church, but people from all faiths and walks of life coming together to offer comfort. It is just this capacity of people to set aside their differences that ultimately signals the dawn that will come the next day.

To shorten a poem that is well-worth reading in its entirety: “A Vision” by Wendell Berry:

If we will have the wisdom to survive,
to stand like slow-growing trees
on a ruined place, renewing, enriching it,
….
the abundance of this place,
the songs of its people and its birds,
will be health and wisdom and indwelling
light. This is no paradisal dream.
Its hardship is its possibility.

Where do you find courage, hope and renewal each day?

In faith and in courage,

Terasa Cooley
Executive Director

P.S. Courage & Renewal programs offer places and practices that help us show up with courage in hard times.

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