A Challenge to Be Good Humans

whale

I thought that today I would be writing something sad or angry. Or resigned. Maybe a call to Resistance, or a Revolution of LOVE.  Perhaps this fits that last, but what it really is, is a story about being moved to my core. It’s about why I simply don’t feel the despair when I am at school, surrounded by the adults of the future.  We have some powerful anti-racist voices at our school, and I pray that we may have ears and hearts open to listen to their challenge to be good humans.

Today, chapel was a student-led celebration of Martin Luther King, Jr.  As we sat down, they played John Legend’s “Glory,” with video on the screen. While the video ran, groups of students in twos and threes, arms around each other or walking companionably, walked up to the stage, and went backstage. Something in the gesture communicated such a sense of community, even before the chapel began in earnest, that I began to tear up.

The chapel itself was a group of students leading songs, performing songs, and reading excerpts from King’s “Letter from the Birmingham Jail Cell.” At the end, Jazleen had the whole school singing “Glory” with her. A couple groups of students in the crowd joined hands and made their way to the front of the auditorium in front of the stage. The crowd got bigger and bigger. They kept holding hands, and then they raised their hands together. I just stopped trying to wipe the tears. It was such a vision of what we can be. May we continue to strive always to be this version of our best and most open-hearted selves.

Gratitude List:
These young people–
1. Their wisdom and thoughtfulness
2. Their deep compassion and love
3. Their willingness to challenge injustice
4. Their determination and grit
5. The ways in which they will change our world for the better.

So much love. So, so very much love.

Betwixt

spider

Perhaps I have written about this before, about trying to stand in the space between rage and despair. About the way that both of them distract from the ability to stay awake and alert. If we are to do our Work in this week, in this year, in this season, in this lifetime, we cannot afford to let ourselves lean too far into either space. There’s a reason it’s called blind fury–in the throes of absolute rage, I cannot see the broad picture, cannot get in touch with the essential humanity of all the people in the story, cannot keep perspective. It is the same with despair.

We will probably find ourselves walking into both of these doorways in the coming days, but if we are to be effective at the Work that lies ahead of us, we cannot afford the luxury of remaining long in either room. Neither can we afford to let them go entirely. We need to keep in mind that we are a complex beings and can hold all of these pieces at once.

In these days, let us remain in the place betwixt the poles, owning our own despair and rage, helping to hold and carry others’ burdens of the same. But let’s keep them as lenses for interpreting the times, as tools for stimulating and inspiring our work, instead of letting them numb and blind us to the reality around us. Let’s be like the spider, neither creature of air or of earth, but who inhabiting a space between. Let’s build our webs of Work and Prayer and Song and Standing Up and Creating Belonging here in the space between the fire of rage and the stone of despair.

On this day, I think of Martin Luther King, who must also have carried with him large portions of both despair and rage, but who stood between, holding his vision of who people could be and what justice looked like, with clarity and great will. May we follow in his steps.

Keep breathing. Keep watching. Keep speaking up. Keep spinning and weaving, singing and knitting, dancing and shouting. Keep holding each other.

Gratitude List:
1. Quiet time to work quietly
2. Paying attention
3. Looking forward to a new semester
4. Remembering–both the challenges and the joys
5. Knitting, weaving, spinning–all of us together

May we walk in Beauty!