Sunday, January 22, 2017

Resistance- 100 days of kindness

Last night I dreamed that I attended my own funeral.  I wasn't afraid.  My body lay in a casket, and people were gathered together.  I came late, and wasn't dressed really well for a church hosted event.  I stood near the back.

In the morning, when the dreams came to my conscious mind, I became aware that there was a part of me that was really okay with Joyce in the casket.  That there were things that could go ahead and die.  Get buried.  That if people needed to mourn that, and maybe simultaneously not notice that I was still in the room, that there was an element of freedom in that.

I've been learning a lot about energy- there's a limited amount of that in me and if I'm not careful and don't budget, it might get nickel and dimed away, leaving me broke and exhausted with the absence of richness in its wake.  Not unlike the big fancy truck I watched at the parking lot across from my house this morning.  It was big and had big fancy wheels.  But he couldn't move forward, and he couldn't move backward, and no matter which way he turned the wheel, that big powerful vehicle would not go where he wanted it to go.  Oh- the wheels were spinning.  He was clearly exerting a lot of energy- but he wasn't going anywhere, and he wasn't accomplishing anything.

Friday, January 20, 2017 dawned a new era in the United States and ultimately, across the world with the inauguration of Donald Trump.  I felt sick.

On Saturday, I spent a lot of the day in my old green chair, reading articles and fuming inside just a little that I couldn't get to the Winnipeg chapter of the march on Washington.  I wanted to be part of something bigger than my green chair. I wanted to walk with all sorts of women- to listen and learn and feel.  I would have walked to say- Love wins!  Diversity is an opportunity for learning!  Lying and misogyny has no place in the future of my sons and daughters!  And-  Jesus was a refugee!  I wanted to be part of a positive show of solidarity of women of all walks, religions, nationalities, sexual identities.  We are all human.  Hatred and self-righteousness are not creeds I want to adopt.

But I live in Manitoba, and the climate change that Trump claims is a hoax designed by the Chinese government has done the unimaginable and turned our typically arctic January into a weird sort of spring way before spring.  The roads were terrible.  Our driveway and deck were terrible.  I couldn't go.

So I sat in my green chair and read some more.  And I spent a lot of time thinking.
I posted some things in my Instagram and facebook accounts.
I thought about the irony of the pussyhat project- how women around the world are taking this derogatory term for a female's genitalia and turned it on its head, so to speak.
I put my cat on my head and had Brian snap some photos.

One of the things I posted was a piece I found through facebook. 
  1. "I listened as they called my President a Muslim.
    I listened as they called him and his family a pack of monkeys.
    I listened as they said he wasn't born here.
    I watched as they blocked every single path to progress that they could.
    I saw the pictures of him as Hitler....
    I watched them shut down the government and hurt the entire nation twice.
    I watched them turn their backs on every opportunity to open worthwhile dialog.
    I watched them say that they would not even listen to any choice for Supreme Court no matter who the nominee was.
    I listened as they openly said that they will oppose him at every turn.
    I watched as they did just that.
    I listened.
    I watched.
    I paid attention.
    Now, I'm being called on to be tolerant.
    To move forward.
    To denounce protesters.
    To "Get over it."
    To accept this...
    I will not.
    I will do my part to make sure this great American mistake becomes the embarrassing footnote of our history that it deserves to be.
    I will do this as quickly as possible every chance I get.
    I will do my part to limit the damage that this man can do to my country.
    I will watch his every move and point out every single mistake and misdeed in a loud and proud voice.
    I will let you know in a loud voice every time this man backs away from a promise he made to them.
    Them. The people who voted for him.
    The ones who sold their souls and prayed for him to win.
    I will do this so that they never forget.
    And they will hear me.
    They will see it in my eyes when I look at them.
    They will hear it in my voice when I talk to them.
    They will know that I know who they are.
    They will know that I know what they are.
    Do not call for my tolerance. I've tolerated all I can.
    Now it's their turn to tolerate ridicule.
    Be aware, make no mistake about it, every single thing that goes wrong in our country from this day
    forward is now Trump's fault just as much as they thought it was Obama's.
    I find it unreasonable for them to expect from me what they were entirely unwilling to give." Author unknown."
Because it reminded me of statement and poem written by Pastor Martin Niemöller about the cowardice of German intellectuals following the Nazis' rise to power and subsequent purging of their chosen targets, group after group.  (Wikipedia)

It also reminded my of the quote by Edmund Burke_
“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”

It was pointed out to me that this "author unknown" piece could be perceived as hateful, and so I reread it through those eyes, and could see the possibility of an attitude of retaliation and revenge.

That's not love.

Still.  I believe in accountability.  I believe in truth telling.  I believe in not forgetting the least of these.  I'm not happy with lies, ugliness, narcissism, or religion that defends one principle at the cost of 5 million others.  I'm not willing to hate and fear refugees (Jesus was one).  I'm not willing to be afraid of Muslims.

This morning I decided to read a little less news.  A customary scroll through my facebook feed with the first coffee of the day brought me to a piece of writing by Sarah Bessey

Image may contain: 1 person, text

And I thought-  Yes.  This.
Be the antidote.
Walk the alternative.

Aim towards the prayer of St Francis:

"Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
Where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled as to console,
To be understood as to understand,
To be loved as to love;
For it is in giving that we receive;
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
It is in dying to self that we are born to eternal life."[5]"

Imperfectly, to be sure.  But with that intent, nonetheless. 
With this in mind, I am challenging myself to:  The Resistance- one hundred days of Kindness. 
Its a goal and not a legalism.
It's "being the change" in whatever small way I can.
It's living with joy anyway, but not in a "la la la la la- It'll all be fiiiine" kind of way.
I'm planning to tag some things with #Resistance to remind myself to not remain inert.
Will I follow through on every single day times 100?  Maybe.  Maybe not.  And that's okay.  Some days simply not screaming is enough.

If this resonates with you on some level, I welcome and embrace you on this different kind of march.

The day will come when my body will be in a casket (or a pile of ashes, whichever).  My voice will be silenced, and my body will do no more.  There are some things I want to be able to answer to on that day.  Did I use my voice, however imperfectly, but with good intention?  Was I willing to risk living a life of authenticity?  Did I push past the fear of being ridiculed, disliked, and misunderstood?  Did I spend my energy wisely?

And meanwhile, while I am indeed living, I must be prepared to let some things die.  That's where the new life begins.  So I'm metaphorically standing in the back of my own funeral, ill dressed, and maybe ill prepared, but with a new kind of energy to really live.

The resistance.