Friday, July 26, 2013

On Tragedy and Activism

"I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. And because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do the something that I can do. What I can do, I should do. And what I should do, by the grace of God, I will do."
Edward Everett Hale, Unitarian clergy

This post is based on part of my "daily practice check-in" this week that I felt compelled to share with a wider audience. It is mostly for me, to hear what these thoughts sound like out loud. It is also to have community bare witness to the commitment to love and justice. May this fuel that work.  Part of what I wrote:

"My practice was steeped in gratitude this week, as a way to cope. Earlier this week my mind was so focused on the tragedies of the world, and sometimes that makes me feel so overwhelmed. All I can do is touch my hands to the Earth, send power to the Mother, and ask her to take my light and send it to the places She needs it the most. To the families of Trayvon Martin, Alan Blueford, Oscar Grant, Anita Gay, Gary King, and so many others who have felt the terrible sting of racism and police violence. Of the Divine Twins, gratitude is the Twin to tragedy and we look to both to reconcile and seek a wiser way. My prayer this week: "May I recognize my own privilege, because change has to start with me. May we all some day become better." And we will become better. We will become better than the Florida "justice" system. We will become better than Monsanto. We will become better than Russian fascists. We will become better because there is no other option. May our search for greater power, wisdom, and love meet this work and bring it into being." [end]

The activist struggles to hold these things in a deep place while still trying to be effective. When I used to work at PETA and was exposed to sick and abused animals all day long, I learned to keep a place for the heartbreak within me that didn't get in the way with the work I had to do. I think most people who spend the day-to-day working around injustice and grief have to find their own way to do that. It is difficult because there is no time to remain crippled with pain for long periods of time. There are no easy solutions to it all.

What we can do is the work in front of us right now. Yes, that's the greater "Work" of our souls, but also the work of our daily practice, our careers, our tending to families, and so on. Today I responded to a letter from a young teen Wiccan, struggling to express her desire for the work of the Goddess to her extremely conservative Southern Baptist parents. I wasn't curtailing a murderous tragedy, but it was a conversation that I hope was helpful for the time being. I believe this "smaller" work to support freedom and connection feeds the larger arch of freedom and connection the world over. As Hale says above, I cannot do everything, but I can do something. I can answer emails, I can earn a living for my family, I can make kind choices. And sometimes I can protest in the street, or visit my Senators, or work at the soup kitchen. It's all important, it is all powerful, and it is all absolutely fucking worth it.

1 comment:

  1. Beautiful poignant piece...I too find myself crippled at the cruelty and injustices in this world...thank you for giving us hope!Lce you!!