It’s ineluctable

I was determined to go to Barbara Brady’s workshop, Post-election Fuel for Positive Transformation. It sounded like just what I needed for my own healing from our recent election – and to focus on what I do next.  But I also heard about a couple other activities happening the same evening and was honestly a little confused about what to do.  But Barbara felt like my real commitment, so I sent her a Facebook note in which I said, “It’s ineluctable.  I don’t actually know what that word means and I’m too tired right now to look it up, but I think it means I’m coming.”  When I saw Barbara at church a couple of days later, she said that ineluctable meant that I’m definitely coming.

But the morning of the workshop, a customer of mine (I’m a cashier at Earth Fare grocery store) said that the Indivisible meeting that night was going to be a large, exciting gathering – indispensable for a political activist in this town.  I felt myself getting woozy.  He said he would email me some information and I said I would pull it up on my phone at my lunch time.

When I did pull the info up, I discovered that the meeting only ran ’til seven p.m.  I didn’t get off work until six, so I would make it for only the last half-hour of the meeting.  I felt a wave of disappointment, then heard the words, “It’s ineluctable.”  It can’t be avoided.  It’s meant to be.  There’s no mistake here, no loss, no carnage.  It’s alright.  It is good.  I got happy about going to Barbara’s workshop.

That happiness about Barbara’s workshop lasted about 40 minutes into the workshop.  I was enjoying the conversation, finding it valuable, being interested in the six other people there.  Then, out of the blue, I started thinking about the Indivisible gathering.  Just how large was it?  It might have been a great opportunity to promote our Tuesday Resist Trump rallies.  Had I made a mistake by not going?

This internal warfare went on for about five minutes, then my mantra returned.  “It’s ineluctable.”  What is happening was unavoidable – I’m in the right place at the right time.”  I was fine again.amy-cover-photo-for-evnt-page

When, the next day, I heard that there had been four hundred people at the Indivisible meeting, I was really happy that something was going on with so much vitality.  I found myself looking forward to finding the right ways to connect with that energy.  And I felt essentially no loss around not being there.

As an activist in a time when so much action is happening, there will be inevitable conflicts about how I invest my time.  Even in my social life this is true.  I think it was kind of helpful that I missed out on such a huge, dynamic meeting.  If missing that could be OK, then all manner of things I don’t do could be alright.


Born To Be Wild

(I wrote these words standing on the side of my ecstatic dance session, to be delivered at our afternoon Resist Trump Tuesday rally.  But the bullhorn never arrived at the rally and it never made sense to try to shout over the wind and the traffic noise.  So these words will find some life here, with you.)

Most Sundays I attend the Jubilee Community Church – a funky, very liberal, wildly non-denominational group with a Christian heart.  Howard Hanger, the minister, says that he doesn’t call himself Christian because he doesn’t like the things that Christians do in the name of their religion – but that he is a lover of Jesus.  Howard is a jazz pianist and loves good music as part of the service – including lots of music you would not expect in church.

But this last Sunday morning (two days ago) “Born To Be Wild” by Steppenwolf rocked a little hard even for Jubilee.  I loved it and kept chuckling, “We sang Born To Be Wild”! – even though we did only an adequate job of singing it.  This morning (two days later) at Susan Campbell’s ecstatic dance session, she also played the same song!  Rock and roll is almost as rare in the local ecstatic dance scene as in the typical Christian church. I got kind of wild on the dance floor – many or most of us did.  I got happy.jumping

There’s something here for us at our rally.  We can get angry sometimes about what is going on in our country – there’s a place for that.  But we need to not let ourselves get submerged in fear.  We are not meant to be frozen in fear.  We are born to be wild – unrestrained, not to be stopped.  Like Jesus and so many of the other great prophets, we are meant to be unintimidated by the powers that be – to resist: “You may not go here.”resist

The first several times I said that last line – even under my breath on the dance floor – I wept.  

Sweet Peace

Peace, sweet peace – where have you gone?
When I look across this great country of ours
Sometimes I cannot find you
When I look inside this vast garden that is me
Sometimes I cannot find you
Back in November, our hopes for peace
Were suddenly and violently snatched from us
And it seems that the shreds of peace left
Have grown more tenuous every day
Foreigners have been made into enemies
Mexicans, our neighbors, have been made into enemies
The press have been made into enemies

Yet there have been moments
of peace and joy and love and happiness
The Women’s March brought us together
In our separate cities
There were our hero sisters who went to Washington
That vast sea of protest and love and fun
Mardi Gras meets protest
And here in Asheville
Ten thousand strong
With our awesome, creative, angry, funny signs
And our sweet pussy hats
Halfway through the march
Patte Vandenberg gave her hat to me
Yes I did for a moment hesitate
But then I snatched it
And wore it proudly and with some merriment

We knew that something important was happening
And that it would not go away after the march
And so it has not
Every time one of us picks up the phone and makes a call
We join in with thousands of brothers and sisters doing the same
The same when we write our postcards
Every time a few of us come together
At a senator’s office or federal building or city hall
To call out for peace and justice
The world becomes more peaceful
Jesus said, when a few of you gather in my name
We bring down the energy of love

Our work is to take to the barricades
Our work is to get arrested when that is our calling
Our work is to sit in and block traffic
And to be very, very noisy
To resist evil is a form of love
We will give “no!” a good name
Without some good, solid no’s
Our yes’s have no meaning
No integrity
To resist is to take a stand
To stand for something
To stand in their way
To stand up to Trump
Stand tall
Rise up
Be proud of who you are
Oh, no they can’t take that away from me
Don’t touch her
Mess with him and you mess with me
Rise up
Say it with me
Rise up
Say it again
Rise up
One last time
Rise up

And so yes, even more than resistance
Our work is to love
Our work is to create peace within ourselves
And then radiate peace to each other
To hug – long sweet tender hugs
To rub each other’s backs
To hold each other while we cry
To love ourselves
To hold our own self tenderly
Like the frightened little child we sometimes are within
If we love ourselves and each other enough
Then when we are lucky
Along with our outrage, our resistance
Out will pour love
First for our people
But then also for their people
Who are certainly suffering too
Even for their leaders
Who are so wrong-headed
Sometimes so full of hate
That they get very dangerous and must be stopped
But then also very, very human
Misguided, wrong-headed, dangerous, destructive
Flawed, lost, hurting human beings

And so tonight
Like the Women’s March
Let us have this be an oasis
A milestone
A touchstone
That feeds us in the work
Let us love ourselves
Take in this music to feed our souls
Let us love each other
Share delicious hugs
Look deep in each other’s eyes
And carry on
Carry on
Love is comin’