I love that every year the first tenet we discuss as Big Ocean Women is that we are women of faith. My faith is the most important thing in my life. It is what guides every major decision I make, and I try to live it through even my smallest choices. Knowing that 83% of the world’s women identify with a faith tradition gives me hope for the influence that we can have on the world around us; but mostly, it gives me hope that my fellow sisters around the globe can find peace in the chaos and hope in the storm that is life.
The following was shared on Facebook by a distant cousin of mine, Lyn Misner:
In 1582 Pope Gregory XIII had the counting of days changed from the Julian to the Gregorian calendar. The old Julian calendar had the length of a year slightly miscalculated which meant Easter was migrating further from the spring equinox and planting and harvesting seasons were not coinciding well with calendar dates.
The Catholic world adopted the new calendar quickly, but Protestant countries were skeptical about being told what to do by the Pope. Therefore, it wasn’t until 1752 that Britain decided to adopt the Gregorian calendar. That year, Wednesday, September 2 was followed by Thursday, September 14 throughout British territory.
Some people thought their lives were being shortened by 11 days. No amount of explaining that the length of their lives would not be affected by the name or number attached to a day seemed to quell their anger, fear, and distrust. There are some reports of riots and protests at the time in Britain, though historians differ on how extensive the protests were.
I first learned of this information as a genealogist because it can affect some dating around that time period. But I thought of it again as I read an article on conspiracy theories which pointed out that conspiracy theories are not a new phenomenon. Humans are not usually comfortable with uncertainty or times of great change. Distrust or a desire to blame something or someone for things beyond our personal control is a fairly common reaction. The main difference today is that the 24/7 news cycle and social media can spread unsubstantiated claims so quickly and so pervasively that they take on a life of their own and seem to be true because they are so often encountered.
In our world today, Truth has become truth. We speak of each person’s own truth. That idea has never made any sense to me because it would justify the views and actions of Hitler or any other evil person. I absolutely believe in absolute Truth, not situational truth and ethics. I do not believe the end justifies the means. A lie is a lie – even if I might wish it were true. I have to accept the fact that I don’t know everything even when my world view makes so much sense to me personally.
When I read what she wrote, I was absolutely struck by the truth of it. The world we live in is full of troubles that we have to encounter daily. Some of the things we face include the worldwide pandemic, political unrest, and not being able to trust news sources. In a recent virtual global meeting for Big Ocean Women leaders, I realized that the issues faced by women are similar whatever the circumstances and location we may live in. As we try to hold on to our families and work and serve in our communities, women face infidelity and wondering how best to respond to that. We face hunger: some literal hunger for food, and some for purpose. Some of us experience discrimination whether for race, gender, religion, or political belief. Each of us has personal trials to be endured. And while I love that we have each other to reach out to, to rely on, with sister cottages and virtual meetings, in the end, there must be something deeper to which we can tightly hold. Something that gives us strength to keep going and stay firm in our convictions. For me, that is my faith. Like an anchor for a boat in a storm, my faith is an anchor that keeps me from being lost at sea. Faith won’t solve all of the problems that we face, but it can make them all easier to deal with. With all of the other things that I have to wonder about, I can hold to that Truth.