Dear Editor: The other day I was driving home from dropping my children off at school, my toddler humming in his car-seat behind me. I was listening to a discussion on NPR about the 156 women who testified against Larry Nassar, a doctor who gained the trust of children and their families, and then used that trust to sexually abuse countless children. By the time I pulled into my driveway, I was stifling sobs. There is so much pain in the world. We hurt one another, we hurt the world around us, we hurt.

I held that feeling with me for the day, making me even more overwhelmed by the regular items of my day – the dishes, my ever growing email inbox, the hungry chickens squawking at me from the yard. It all felt so gray. My three-year-old saw my tears and held my face in his hands. “You ok, Mommy?” he asked, “Be calm.”

We carried his hot-wheel cars outside to race them down the plywood ramp in the yard, and I carried my tea and latest copy of Western Friend (“Captivity”) out to a chair in the sun.

The sun caught on your Editor’s Note as I dove in, your words finding me at exactly the time I needed them. “The truth is almost too painful to bear,” you wrote, “So we are tempted to play at life, rather than making the frightening commitment to serve it.” It was like you were speaking directly to the concerns that had smothered me all day. You saw my pain and held it for a moment for me to look at, and then helped me go on with my day – “We can bear, though, the pain of incarnation – and the joy of it. . . We can bear the burden of serving Life if we have friends at hand to catch us and correct us when we stumble.”

Thank you, Mary, for these words. Thank you, Western Friend, for being a vessel for important voices and stories as we stumble forward together.

– Sarah Tarver-Wahlquist, Pima Monthly Meeting (IMYM)


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