“The people walking in darkness have seen a great light.”
I swim for brighter days
Despite the absence of sun
Choking on salt water
I’m not giving in
“Swim,” by Jack’s Mannequin
“We must keep moving. If you can’t fly, run; if you can’t run, walk; if you can’t walk, crawl; but by all means keep moving.”
Martin Luther King, Jr: “Keep Moving the Mountain”
There is power in our simple refusal to stop moving.
There is power in putting one foot in front of the other, even in the darkness.
Sometimes it feels like we just don’t have it in us to keep throwing ourselves at the walls of injustice that seem too high, too impenetrable, too exhausting.
Hope, though, is the decision to keep moving forward, even it’s only one step, and even in the darkness, even when we can’t see. We don’t need to do tremendously large things to face the injustices and evils that have such a grip on our world – we don’t all need to be world-changers and powerhouses of transformation. It’s OK if all we have is a step.
Imagine if everyone was OK with only having one step, if everyone took that one step without hating that it couldn’t be more steps, or frustrated that they couldn’t do it all. Imagine if this Advent, we spoke gently to our fear of inadequacy, and firmly to our ego, and allowed ourselves to do small things instead of sitting paralyzed waiting to do large ones.
Imagine if we permitted ourselves to take small steps, as long as it meant we kept walking.
By all means, keep moving! Keep walking. Keep walking, not just for yourself, but for the world. Like the story of the loaves and fishes, when we show up only with what we have to Jesus – even when it isn’t “enough”! – Jesus takes what we’re capable of offering and increases it for the salvation of the world.
That is the white-hot center of Advent – that while we keep “walking in darkness,” it’s not our walking that brings in the redemption of the world. We walk towards God’s inbreaking justice in the world, which is coming whether we are flying, running, or crawling. Our small acts of justice – those single steps that we refuse to stop doing, even though we can’t see how they’ll make a difference – are met by a generous, just God who is multiplying our small efforts into making all things new..
Don’t be overwhelmed by how much there is to do in the world this Advent. Have the courage to keep moving. Your small steps are met by a faithful God.
Laura Jean Truman is a writer and substitute bartender living in Atlanta, GA. She holds a BA in Philosophy from the University of New Hampshire and an MDiv from Emory University: Candler School of Theology. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram at @LauraJeanTruman and on her blog at laurajeantruman.com