August 12, 2020
Sr. Sarah Deeby, one of our founding sisters, had her office not far from mine. Sometimes when I went to speak to her about something, I picked up a jar from her bookcase. It was filled with the red tinted water and had glitter in it. When you shook it up, the glitter went every which way and the jar was chaotic and cloudy. Sr. Sarah said she used the jar to help her young (and not so young!) clients focus and calm their minds as they watched the glitter settle.
I feel like we are all living in a glitter jar where the glitter never settles and is constantly shaken. The COVID-19 pandemic has brought illness, financial disaster, even death, to our families, friends, and communities. Celebration and grieving alike have been put on hold. We want desperately to know when the glitter will vanish and we can go back to our “old” lives. And the brutal death of George Floyd and our country’s long-overdue reckoning around racial inequality, systemic racism, and police brutality add to the disorienting swirl.
The past few months have shown, like never before, the injustices all around us. The pandemic and protests have focused a bright light on how far we have to go in fighting poverty, racism, discrimination, and inequality, and the vast disparities in healthcare, pay, education, and housing. The glitter in our collective jar will never truly settle until we take real and sustained action on these difficult issues.
At NCC, we want to help create a better future. Our value of Justice states “receiving health care is a basic right,” and we know we can be stronger advocates for that vision. We strive to be anti-racist, and understand we haven’t lived up to that ideal. We reach out to those who are suffering and need mental health care, and we know there is more, much more, work to do.
Martin Luther King, Jr., once said, “The time is always right to do what is right.” As we live through these next difficult months, we can all do the next right thing, both for ourselves and our communities. Sometimes it’s hard to know what that next right thing is. But if it’s led with love, caring, and compassion, it can’t help but bring some calm to that swirling, chaotic jar.
– Erin Peters, Executive Director