It maybe doesn’t help anything for us to be terrified. If public speaking is our greatest fear, maybe that’s not what the movement is calling for from us. But there’s a lot to be said for being out of our comfort zone. And maybe, in desperate times like these, we are all being called to step out of our comfort zones – and maybe, some of the time, way out.
Attending a rally could be out of your comfort zone , but you may feel called to come to the Asheville Federal Building on Tuesday afternoons. Waving a sign may feel even more like you’re “looking for trouble”, but maybe you could make a sign about love. Getting in front of the rally group and giving a ten-minute talk may feel scary, but maybe you are the person in the group who knows the most about climate change.
Joining your church social justice team may be out of your comfort zone. Participating in that team’s Facebook page may feel even more like you are outing yourself. Standing in front of the congregation with this team to have your work blessed may be excruciating – and may be just right for you at that particular time.
I’ve never been arrested for a sit-in – or for anything actually. I just missed the window for the civil rights movement: I was a little too young, a little too green, a little too Midwestern. In my freshman year at my junior college, one day our Greek instructor said, “I won’t be here next week – I’m going to Selma. You should too.” But none of us was ready.
I keep having this vision that I’m going to get arrested this year. I don’t know how or why or where, but it feels like a for-sure thing. Our Resist Trump Tuesday rallies at the Federal Building are totally legal, totally safe – “Bring the kids”. The federal security guards are “just here to protect you. If anybody gives you a hard time, get us.” And mostly, aside from the occasional extended middle finger from a passing car, nobody does give us a hard time.
About three weeks ago, I read in a local newsletter that there would be information forthcoming about civil disobedience training. I knew I was meant to go, but before I knew it the training had been announced and filled. This morning I heard there was still a spot – Sunday afternoon. But I really like the Mardi Gras parade in downtown Asheville at 3 p.m. And I have a notion of a woman I want to invite.
So, obviously, I am not a movement hero. My motivations are not pure. I’m pretty human. But it did not take long for my real calling to assert itself. How long would it be before there would be another such training? With an illegal sit-in, civil disobedience training may make the difference between discomfort and terror. And then sometimes, depending on how undisciplined are the police, it might still be terrifying – and even then you might still be in the right place at the right time. And even when it’s scary, following our calling can be thrilling.
The Trumpites are not going to go easily. These totally legal, totally safe rallies are great at this moment in time – but the time may come for breaking the law.
If the right next step outside of your comfort zone is to attend a rally, call me. If giving a speech is scary but you think you are probably ready, I could be a good ally. If you want to go to civil disobedience training, I’ve got the woman’s name. If you want a sit-in buddy and think I could be it, let’s talk. Whether it’s a sit-in at the EPA or handcuffing myself to a Latino neighbor being swept up for deportation, I want to be ready for the act that is maybe scary but maybe still right.