Sunday Morning ~ Acting
Mubvi woyang’anira ulowa m’cikope. ~ The arrow you just look at hits your eye.
~ Chewa Proverb
July 14, 2019
I’ve had a full week, starting in Boston meeting new educators and participating in their orientation, and ending on this island holding a candle in the park, praying for a humane way to help those seeking asylum.
We stood along the edge of the park holding candles. Some held signs: CLOSE THE CAMPS, SEEKING ASYLUM IS LEGAL, HUMANITY, DIGNITY, FAMILY, and DON’T LOOK AWAY. The harbor was thick with fog and only a few tall masts were visible. Some tourists walking by stopped, took a candle, and stood with us for awhile. Others drove by and honked in support. One elderly man in a red jacket walked unsteadily down the sidewalk across the street. He stopped and raised his right hand with his middle finger up. He shook his arm to emphasize his epithet. Someone near him urged him along. He lumbered down the hill turning to give us the finger again yelling some profanity. A group behind him turned to us and yelled, “We are with you!” And raised fists in support, close enough to him to show they weren’t afraid of his large lumbering body or his slur. I found it surreal. Why could a group of silent protestors of government-sanctioned child abuse possibly threaten someone?
It’s complicated. My mind is often confused, searching for the right path. I want to convince others what (I believe) is right and just and honorable. But how do I know what others should believe? Why do they believe what they do and what brought them to their belief? When people have profited by a system then vote to burn that bridge for others, where is the hope? Where should one’s energy be best spent? I’m trying to understand. My son reminded me of a lesson from The Art of War: If you know yourself and not your enemy you will lose half the time. If you know neither yourself nor your enemy you will lose every time. If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the outcome. Where did Sun Tzu acquire his wisdom? I will take that book down from the shelf and read it again. I can’t just stand and watch the arrows.
Love to all,
Sunday Morning ~ What Happened to My Country?
Mwana wa mnzanko ngwako yemwe. ~ The child of your neighbor is your child too.
~ Chewa Proverb
July 7, 2019
I was happy to be home for Fourth of July in Bar Harbor. It’s such a great holiday in this small town: pancake breakfast, parade, town band concert, craft fair, lobster, fireworks, and happy people. In between all those activities there’s swimming, hiking, and walking in a beautiful landscape. It’s everything you could want in a celebration of what our country stands for. Or what I thought it stood for. It was always a day I could drum up some patriotism and look past the egregious failings on our part as a superpower. I had a hard time doing that this year. Though the crowds billowed out in puffs along the parade route, appearing to be bigger than ever, I felt an undertone of sadness and shame. Even the Shriners in their mini tractor trailers seemed low energy. Maybe I was projecting.
My grandchildren were here for the holiday week and it was such a joy to be with them and see their excitement about all the Independence Day activities. They had their faces painted, dove for candy at the parade, screamed in fear at the clowns, and then painted peace flags, an activity to raise awareness for all the children suffering on our southern border as they are detained away from their parents. I watched my little angels dip their brushes in bright colors and concentrate on the design they were creating on the piece of fabric that will fly with others in prayer for decency and humanity. I can’t imagine what I’d do, how I’d breathe, if these two loves of mine were ripped apart from their parents and isolated in squalor. It’s unthinkable. Yet it’s happening. Here. In the home of the free and land of the brave. Amelia, who learned “You’re a Grand Ol’ Flag” sang those words happily from her car seat on the drive to Bar Harbor. I felt the same foreboding I felt that horrible day in 2016 when the election results became a hellish reality.
I’ll occasionally be reassured by being with like-minded people and reminding myself it is only a third of people (ignorant people I tell myself) supporting this travesty. I tell myself it’s only uneducated, greedy, ignorant people but I know this isn’t accurate. I’m continually shocked, mortified, and frightened to learn I know people I used to respect who voted for this. When my bother puts a comment on Facebook saying the children should not be invading our country if they don’t want to be detained, I’m in 1984. Speechless, mortified, I remove his comment (thank God I can do this) and wonder how someone with an eduction can think this? He has grandchildren he loves and would protect them no matter what. So what the hell? Since the Regan era we’ve avoided political discussions in my family, always wondering what my father’s abuse had done to the two of his offspring who are as conservative as he was. (Talk about identifying with the oppressor!) But this is crazy shit talk and it scares me. So what do I do? Protest. Don’t engage in discussion with people that aren’t reachable. I stopped trying to make them see my point. It’s hopeless and a waste of time. Focus on those who are listening and I’ll live my truth. Remember that no dictator survives more than 3.5% of the population who peacefully protest. Work for candidates who can turn this around (please God don’t let it be too late). I’m hopeful for Betsy Sweet’s campaign to unseat Susan Collins and hope the 2018 midterm result is a sign of what is to come. I know the time might be dark right now but it always turns around. I just hope it is sooner rather than later. I’ll participate in the orientation for new volunteers this week in Boston, then back to work in my garden and participate in the resistance. Watching a plant grow from a tiny seed always gives me hope. In fact, right now, that and the smiles of my grand babies are the only things that do.
Love to all,