Lenten Devotional: March 28

Learning from Those Around Us

— By Melanie Frick —

For the longest time, I did not consider myself an extremely religious person. But, I also used to think that religious behavior was restricted to praying before meals and bed, reading the bible, and attending church regularly. 

Yet, over the past couple of years, confined to being at home more often and listening to ourselves, I’ve come to reevaluate that description and have decided that being religious can look/be different for each individual. Being religious, to me, means that I am trying my best each day to look out for those around me and continue to educate myself.

Here is an excerpt from Amanda Gorman’s New Day’s Lyric poem which she released on Dec. 29, 2021:

May this be the day
We come together 
Mourning, we come to mend,
Withered, we come to weather, 
Torn, we come to tend, 
Battered, we come to better.
Tethered by this year of yearning, 
We are learning
That though we weren’t ready for this,
We have been readied by it.
We steadily vow that no matter
How we are weighed down
We must always pave a way forward.

This poem spoke to me about this past year and what we can take from it. As Gorman said, “We are learning that though we weren’t ready for this, we have been readied by it.” I think this is an important message to take to heart. Given these past couple of years, I think to “repair the breach” means to continue to work alongside others in my community and learn from them. With cases like Linnentown in Athens, I can’t go back and undo what was done, but in art class we have been given the opportunity to do a project on Linnetown that will eventually be displayed. It has been insightful to learn more about Athens history and spread information by working on this project. Even through journalism, I am able to listen to people’s thoughts, ideas, and life perspectives, which has helped me grow with my outlooks. 

Going forward, I hope to take the reflective time we all had during this pandemic and apply it to bettering myself. We didn’t have the chance to drown out our thoughts with things that typically take up lots of mental space like social gatherings. We had to sit with our thoughts and ponder how we are making an impact on the world around us. This is a practice that I hope to continue, to enact change in myself and my community.