50 Years Ago
Since my husband, Dan, and I are celebrating our 50th wedding anniversary this year, I’m frequently finding myself reminiscing about the five intervening decades. Thoughts about our personal lives flood in, including the joys and challenges of composing a life together, pursuing careers, raising a family, finding community and spiritual homes in five states and several countries overseas, and remembering family, friends and mentors who helped us along the way. We have been richly blessed and so, feel deeply called to do what little we can to help our fellow travelers as we move through this earthly life.
Dan’s and my journey together began when we met at Columbia University, at a time of great social change and frequent student demonstrations. Over the course of subsequent decades, much of the progress that we fought for became part of the fabric of our country. As I approach my 80th birthday, it is clear that much of that carefully woven national fabric is now unraveling, and like you, I am searching to find a way to help. For several months, now, I’ve been having conversations with myself that go something like this:
- Voice 1: “You know, Lorna, you had your own days of protests, phone banks, demonstrations, and coaching generations of students through them. You’ve earned a rest. You’re nearly 80 years old. Let younger folks take over now. Just send a check.”
- Voice 2: “It’s not possible to rest, given the perilous current state of our country. I’m blessed with good health, for now at least. How can I rest, while our democracy is in peril and many face losing hard-earned human rights, including to vote and the right to live? Besides, Lorna, marching is good for arthritic knees and hips; we all have to show up.”
And so, I find myself – once again, showing up – joining in with many of you in positive action and protests of all sorts. Yesterday’s March for Our Lives in Salisbury was remarkable. Hundreds in our community showed up to protest gun violence and build community strength to fight against laws that make it easy to kill. The program of the protest gathering was particularly well considered and carefully organized – from the opening remarks through the heartbreaking reading of the names of the little children and their teachers who were senselessly slain in Uvalde. The singing, led by our own Emily Elliot, was moving. The silent march through town was a true meditation, as huge photos of the slain children were held high for all passing pedestrians and motorists to see – for all to grieve. Kathy Voldstad and Sophia DeBoer are to be congratulated for all they did to make this event both meaningful and successful. Many of the members of the Congregational Church of Salisbury took part.
What will the next 50 years bring? We cannot know for sure, but if we have hope, if we stand with our Church congregation and the broader community and if we show up, surely Creator God’s vision for humanity will ultimately prevail.
Lorna Duphiney Edmundson, Chair, Board of Deacons, June 12, 2022