The Voice of Youth

November 10

Religious Exploration

These Times are a Changin’
by Stephanie St John, Director of Religious Exploration

Now, perhaps more than ever, we feel how life can change in an instant. 9/11 changed America forever. The 2016 election changed the course of politics and deepened divides even in families. January 6 changed how elections in the US will be viewed at least in our lifetime. And Covid…two years that seem like a decade unto themselves. For women and minorities, the reversal of Roe vs Wade and the constant attacks on voting rights are their own time warp of loss. If that weren’t enough change, Hurricane Ian swiped a blow that will leave our area reeling for years to come. Stir in the high inflation and the news we grapple with daily, and our world is in constant flux. My iWatch reminds me daily to breathe and take time for meditation as a way to be healthier. Some days are harder than others to look for the silver linings, and sometimes I do find myself forgetting to breathe.

I think of the emotional and physical well-being, not only of adults, but of the children and young adults. In all of the constant change, the destruction, the fight for power, the greed, where will the safety, hope, and love be found? Will our community be part of a change that can help heal and educate and create spaces of growth? This past week I’ve been sent photos of some of our families helping others in Naples who have lost everything. I’ve been part of the garden crew dragging branches and debris so that the children will be safe to wander outside to have RE and play on the playground. The garden community worked tirelessly restoring our safe space, while I know others have delivered meals and water. I love how we have come together in crisis and hope we continue to do so.

I can’t imagine the grit children born in the last 15 years must have to face every day. Teens and young women who will grow up without Roe vs Wade, minorities whose voting rights keep slipping away, the LGBTQ youth who have lost their safety nets at school, the school shootings, and scarce resources for mental health. And all the children who are losing the history and books to censorship. When you see these youth in our halls, give them a smile of courage. When you can donate or sponsor a cause or volunteer, please do. They are worth every bit of our love and support. Be the good kind of change!

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