“May you live in interesting times” the ancient curse goes and this week more than ever before I can feel it. On a personal note I have issues of the many headed (and always growing new heads) beast of poverty with my fridge broken, my drains blocked, my car damaged by hailstones that make cherries looks small by comparison, debt, fines, and loss of license (so maybe the car doesn’t matter). I work hard enough and long enough to not be getting my academic writing done (nor anything creative) but not enough to survive on. Last night I realised just how much the ongoing and recurring stresses of this year have harmed me but also that I have beautiful friends in my life. I am not just whinging, this is a common theme at the moment among low income earners whose belts are being cinched tighter than is reasonable – and the loss of good health and educational outcomes (for example) that go with it should also concern us when we consider how many like me might have small children. Anyway even middle-aged disgruntled ranters like me matter as human beings.
On a less personal note I can turn to the world of politics where it seems that evil and inhumane madness is running rampant throughout the world- that many people hate the disadvantaged “other” even more than they love their own interests and we constantly vote in madmen (gender intentional and largely justified) who we then use as role models for truly anti-social behaviour and beliefs.
And yet as one of my friends in the Greens reminded on Facebook there are little wellsprings of hope…small triumphs for love (such as “Wicked campers” told they can’t put misogynist and violent slogans on their vans anymore and some US states bringing in preferential voting). Another friend reposted Todd Beaupre’s assertion that: “Tomorrow, I will not define myself by the future President. I will use whatever freedom and privilege I have to keep making this world what I want it to be. Donald Trump is one person in a powerful position, but he will not control my life. And my friends and allies who may not be as privileged as I am, know that I am still here for you. My America means love, positivity, truth, rewarding hard work while supporting those who struggle to keep up, freedom, and peace. I will not be silenced. Hillary may have lost, but there are still many millions of Americans who will show tomorrow and every day after, that LOVE STILL WINS. Who is with me?” (I have no idea who Todd Beaupre is but I thought the quote worth circulating.)
So these friends have reminded me firstly, not to neglect my blog even though I feel full of despair and snowed under, and secondly to take this opportunity to make a commitment that I feel echoes my baptismal and confirmation commitment to walk with God. So I will take a few small moments to try to put that into words
In a world where the hatred of others teaches me anger, I will nevertheless strive to speak with love and kindness.
I will be courageous is speaking out against abusive ways of viewing other people and the world, but I will not seek to humiliate or stereotype those I debate with.
I will look to notice those who are made invisible by discourses of might and privilege. I will give them words of recognition and friendship and silences of deep listening.
I will be kind to myself and pursue enjoyment with my friends up to a point, but will not allow escapist activities or ways of thinking to sway me from the things that need to be done.
I will listen to the people who love me and open my heart to believe them that I am loved and loveable.
I will nurture and strengthen the wisdom, hope and loving-kindness of others knowing that their goodness may build a better world.
I will learn to be better at accessing the help I need from people and grow toward advocating also for others.
Yeah though I walk in the valley of the shadow of death I will reorient myself toward the loving God of all good possibilities, of life renewed.
I will do something today that is enjoyable. I will speak to someone today who I love.
I ask the strength of God to achieve this, the compassion of God when I fail in any of these and the joy of God in the living of my commitment to her eternal love. Amen.
And then right now I will do some work on my article 😉