Paradox. Action. No Other

I am finding it hard to create words this morning. Creativity seems like a luxury. Over the past ten days, as the world has turned upside down once again, as we are running like head less chicken away or towards the horrific news or the news of incredible acts of kindness by fellow humans towards others … it seems like such a luxury to be able to sit down, in peace, with hot tea and write anything. Or just sit in peace. Or just drink hot tea. Or just write. Or just peace … .

Over the past days I have seen volunteers who have not slept in days to help others even though nobody called them or made them come and there is no gain in their actions for them. And I marveled at the thought they are fellow humans.

Over the past days I have read of humans asking other humans for money to help them cross a border they never wanted to cross in the first place, lying to them in order to enable human trafficking and choosing to help only those who look like them. And I was sick to my stomach at the thought that they are fellow humans.

I was reminded about one idea that I lovehate. I was reminded that navigating the life’s constant paradoxical nature is what we must learn in order to survive and thrive and one of the most important lessons of the constant crisis our humanity seems to be in (and I am not referring necessarily to pandemics and wars – those are just overt ones) – if we choose to learn it, that is.

***

These days I am working on myself to unlearn old ways of looking at the spiritual and the divine and re-learning definitions and explanations that resonate with my soul. Yesterday I told a friend that I used to sit in the Orthodox Church in my tame days and hear “For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” (Matthew, 18:20). With my young, privileged, dogmatic mind of my 20s and early 30s, I listened to the priests who interpreted this phrase literally – see, we are all here together, in this church, God is here with us, not outside with them. And felt above … in my idiocy. Trying hard to replace that with:

“When people get together in solidarity and unity, not out of power but out of powerlessness, then Christ is in their midst.”

Richard Rohr, Simplicity, pg. 26

When I read Ibran Kendi’s How to Be an Antiracist, I realized how much a racist I was. I realized that there were seeds planted deep down in me that generated reactions, facial expressions, thoughts and sometimes actions that my newly educated mind would abhor. I felt ashamed, turned my head away from that part of me but it kept resurfacing. I then read: “We don’t think our way into a new life; we live our way into a new kind of thinking.” (Richard Rohr, Simplicity, pg. 26). So, for the past years I made myself listen to podcasts and read books about and by Black Lives Matter activists, LGBTQ+ community representatives, people who think differently than me. It is what we should all do in times of peace – re-educate ourselves to remember there are no “others”. It is essential preparation for times when our hands must be held out in support and our hearts opened to all who need it.

***

I have written this with many interruptions, texting from two phones and typing on my computer. And still I feel like I am doing nothing. There is no reason for humans killing humans. If you look back in all of our history the truth is only one and it stares us in the face:

These crises are portals – we are invited to step through them to remember:

Photo by Tim Marshall on Unsplash

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