winter-in-the-city-1404394-1279x1705By Sister Regina Siegfried ASC

On the day of Winter Solstice, with the least length of light, I joined my community of new friends and neighbors for a gathering at a striking 1879 landmark home decked out in full Christmas lights and regalia.

The house was built by Missouri Botanical Garden founder Henry Shaw as a rental property for his workers.

My community of friends and neighbors has been meeting every Tuesday for the last year to discuss crime, social unrest, racism, fear and other thorny issues of urban life.

Last year at this time, we barely knew each other, but were brave enough to commit to tough conversations. But over time, we have related in a relaxed and friendly way.

I marvel at their commitment to improve our neighborhood, to be lights in the daytime, even when the light seems dim and short and the darkness stretches before us.

Our neighborhood has calmed down since last year’s high-profile fatal shooting of a black man by a white police officer, but we continue to need lights in the daytime to illuminate the path to more respect, understanding, and love for one another.

One small group of committed neighbors can make a difference; I’ve seen attitudes and minds change over the course of our sometimes difficult discussions.

Now as the days slowly begin to lengthen, consider where you find light in the daytime to help you find the way. It’s really all around us in people, nature and conversations that truly make a difference in how we think, live, and love.