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This week’s Sacred Space: Picking Up the Pieces

By Rev. Christy Correll-Hughes, Stetson University Chaplain

My oldest son loves to play with LEGOs. We have a huge bin of them in his room, which he uses to continually construct and deconstruct shapes into various creations. I also have a younger son who wants to do everything his big brother does, so naturally he also wants to dig into the LEGOs.

Of course, the 4-year-old baby brother plays with the pieces, it looks like a LEGO factory exploded in the room. This happened recently.

My oldest and I walked into his room to clean up and looked at the pile of LEGOs that used to be a bedroom floor, and he just looked at me with frustrated tears, “Mom, it’s too much of a mess. I can’t clean it all up by myself.”

I feel a bit like my son as I begin this week. The news last week was simply terrible. Hundreds of people shot and injured, with 58 dead at a concert in Las Vegas. If you are like me, the shock has worn off only a little.

This has become like so many others — another mass shooting on the list that is far too long. In those moments after I read the news on my screen, I was horribly saddened. It’s unbelievable. Or, is it? And this occurred on the heels of the destruction Hurricane Maria brought to Puerto Rico.

We live in the reality of a 24-hour news cycle and constant calls on social media to act, to respond, to add our voice to the millions of other voices shouting about the issues connected to such manmade and natural events. Honestly, it can all be too much.

I feel myself buckling under the weight of all the feelings and problems, and am paralyzed to do anything at all. I look at our nation and the world like my son looked at the pile of LEGOs. It’s just such a mess — too big and too much. I can’t clean it up all by myself.

Then I take a breath and remember that I am not all by myself. I have a family, a community and faith that guides me.

This week in our Sacred Space Gathering, we will observe a Vigil for Peace. Certainly, we could all benefit from a moment where we come together, pause, pray, reflect and meditate on how we can bring more peace into our world.

I’ve heard some people say this week that prayer and gatherings are not what we need right now, but I disagree. This is the time when we need prayer the most. We need to be gathered as a community; we need what Rabbi Jill Jacobs calls ”a connection both to the divine [however we conceive of divinity] and to the community praying with us.”

The LEGOs did get picked up off the floor. My older son and I got down on the rug and started picking up pieces that were closest to us. We worked together, and eventually they all ended up back in the bin.

The three chaplains stand in front of the Carlton Union Building

Stetson’s three Chaplains are, left to right, Rev. Willie Barnes, Jr., an African Methodist Episcopal pastor; Rev. Christy Correll-Hughes, an ordained Baptist minister; and Sensei Morris Sekiyo Sullivan, spiritual head of Volusia Buddhist Fellowship in DeLand.

Later today (Monday, Oct. 9) at 7:15 p.m. in Lee Chapel, the Stetson community is invited to remember that none of us are picking up all the pieces of a messy world alone. We can be together and work together to accomplish peace.

Note: Stetson University’s three Chaplains share an interfaith message during Sacred Space, a weekly gathering on Mondays at 7:15 p.m. in Lee Chapel inside Elizabeth Hall. They also write this column for Stetson Today that ties into the theme of the upcoming gathering. For more information, contact the Office of the Chaplains at stetsonchaplain@stetson.edu or 386-822-7523.