All Saints Day is dawning. Every year, I take this day to consider the people who inspire me, whose lives have given me the courage and determination to live my own life with more integrity and compassion and hope. I don’t usually put family members and close friends on the list, because they are sort of a given. But I don’t stick to the Catholic list of saints either, though many of the saints that I carry around with myself as models and examples of reflective life are Catholic saints.
These are only five of my saints–this day’s saints. It feels odd to write the list and not include Harriet Tubman or Hildegarde of Bingen or Julian of Norwich–they’ve been on the lists before. Off the top of my head, and from the center of my heart, here is this year’s list:
1. The Water Protectors. This year, the people who stand in North Dakota to protest the pipeline that would run through their sacred land and under their sacred waters are some of my greatest inspiration. Their example of peaceful, prayerful protest encourages me to walk with justice.
2. Rachel Carson, biologist and author of Silent Spring, because she reminds me to watch and listen and draw conclusions, and to to be afraid to speak up.
3. Mary Oliver, because I know that whenever I feel lost within myself, I can turn to her poems and find my way through the forest. Because she teaches me to pay attention.
4. St. Benedict, because he reminds me of the importance of order and rhythm in my life, of the power of radical hospitality, of the need to stay fresh–always beginning again.
5. Maya Angelou, because of her incredible strength and her enormous heart.
May we walk in Beauty!