I once saw myself as having many children in my lifetime, with motherhood a beloved outlet for my gifts, skills and talents. My body and life had other responses to those visions. But I ponder how I would feel if I had children and grandchildren growing to live in this society that is emerging and devolving around us.
I spoke with my mother of these things last night, and we thought of the young people in our lives and the passions they express, with little said of any responsibility for others, for caring about or loving their neighbors, for taking time to comprehend and appreciate the delicate interdependence that creates the necessities of a good and secure, happy, and serene life.
We continue to give to others, and we wake up temporarily in the face of tragedy and crisis, disasters and horrors that befall even the most different from us. But rapidly the discourse springs back like a rubber band pulled to its limits, snapping us into an awareness of the of xenophobia, prejudice, entitlement, threats of violence, and fearful claims of superiority over anything we don’t understand, that have become the basis for identity.
When our elected leaders begin to pride themselves in disrupting our government, privileging corporations, empowering those who are killing nature and destroying the earth, we are not in good hands. When the brightest of our young believe they are thinking critically to believe what makes them feel superior or right with no evidence or sound logic, we have a very shaky future.
We do not have a clean history, despite the narratives of Independence, victory, heroism, and freedom we have been encouraged to cherish. And the very sordid ideals that we have hidden away, denied, and failed to formally decry and denounce with collective vehemence–bigotry, racism, class idolatry, ridiculing of knowledge, and fear of our bodies and nature–these ideals are beginning to burst out in mighty force. They are like weeds we never worked to eliminate from the garden of what sustains us. And we can no longer tell the difference, and have begin to poison ourselves off the fruits of our neglected gardens. We now plant the weeds and eliminate the food.
My mother and I talked of the absence of prayer that soothes and moves us to care… How spirituality is devoid and religion has become medieval at its core.
We aren’t going to “win” regardless of which “side” we think we’re on, or who we blame, or who we want to punish. It’s easier to go with the flow of a river washing over us. We transform ourselves into mouthpieces for scripts and hold back our heartfelt concerns. We don’t connect except out of desire to be on the right “team. ”
That game isn’t working. That game hasn’t worked. That game doesn’t work.
So when I see these images and hear the abominable claims and logic around us, I’m going to try to respond from the part of me that can still feel love and that knows how people wake up when they learn of their own beauty and potential with others. I can’t accept an invitation to stir up ugliness inside me, even when ugliness is being spewed in my direction or injustice spun around me.
I have to learn to be a heretic to this orthodoxy of madness around us. A mindful heretic, aware that I’ve chosen a lonely trail, but only if I am longing for false companionship. There is a world of creation out there supporting a logic of interdependent life and death, and it is beautiful, and it is my world, my community. We can be part of it, too.