A holy ground of acceptance and change

Note: Today’s blogging prompt is “acceptance,” and it came from Lorna MacDonald Czarnota.

This morning, at church, the choir sang “Holy Ground,” in four-part harmony. It felt so good to sing that. Harmony is everything. It gives shape and color to the song and makes it feel whole. You can sing anywhere, even in sad spaces where people feel forgotten and abandoned. I remembered a group of volunteers who came to the Danbury Prison Camp once a week to share music and faith and other stuff. They brought guitars and listening ears and stories. Every week, we sang “Holy Ground,” with guitar accompaniment, in unison. That was twelve and a half years ago. Until a few weeks ago, I had not seen or heard the song. 

Those years flowed by, full of adventures and hope and sadness. I had walked across the midwest, New York State, and Georgia. I had survived pneumonia and an ulcer. I lost my father and I gained two great nieces and a great nephew. I learned that change is an integral part of life, and that includes change that brings pain, as well as change that brings joy.

I also learned that acceptance is an integral part of life. It is something that I struggle with. How do I know what to accept and what not to accept? I do know that there are things that I can accept. I can accept that things change. The world was never meant to be static, and change is inevitable. I can accept people for who they are, not who I want them to be. And it made me more open to them. 

Acceptance of change can be hard. When you are tired or when your feet are sore, you don’t feel open to acceptance. When you struggle with writer’s block, acceptance of that isn’t easy. When you struggle with self-esteem, you wonder why you should have to accept that. And then you hear the song “Holy Ground” in your head. In four-part harmony. 

“This is holy ground. We’re standing on holy ground. For the Lord is present, and where He is is holy…”

The song doesn’t specify which space is the holy space. It could be a church or a forest or a road that never seems to end. It could be on a city street or on a rocky beach next to a lake. It could be in a city that looks as if it were falling down. Or it could be in a prison. Acceptance means just that. Accepting people for who they are and for who they will become, as opposed to judging them for their past. 

For me, what acceptance does not mean is accepting that things that I would consider to be unacceptable: injustice, prejudice, racism, and cruelty. It means going within and fighting the prejudice that is inside of me. The prejudice that grows inside of me, just because I live in a culture that is steeped in prejudice and racism. Sometimes, I struggle with myself because I feel that I too am filled with that toxic stuff. Confronting the prejudice inside of me is hard, but, at the same time, it is good to work on dumping the poison. And this is where I go back to acceptance.

I can accept the fact that I need to change myself. Because I am a work in progress. And I can make these changes for the better, with faith, hope, and acceptance of who I am as a human being

3 thoughts on “A holy ground of acceptance and change”

  1. Your post reminds me of Moses' encounter with the Supreme Being…On a mountain… Moshe! Take your shoes off. This is holy ground.
    We never know where we will encounter same.

  2. That's beautiful, Alice. It reminds me that holy ground can be anywhere. We are all works in process; we can only hope we improve as we grow older, rather than becoming more prejudiced. I've seen both things happen to people I've known for years.

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