A recent reading at a Sunday worship service focused on the simple principle: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” You don’t have to be a churchgoer or believer to learn this principle. Some call it the golden rule – “Do unto others…”. A friend had a similar saying: “What goes around, comes around.” My brother John died recently. Reflecting on John’s life and legacy has broadened my perspective on the golden rule and how love grows.
We are sitting on a large piece of driftwood nestled into the sand at San Josef Bay near the northernmost tip of land on Vancouver Island. Clouds of rain have come and gone most of the day until a small, postage-stamp sized piece of blue sky opens up. An osprey seizes the moment to rise into the air and begin its fishing expedition along the Bay. Its flight is a joyous sight. Soaring with each breeze it stops to hover by rapidly flapping its broad white wings. Suddenly it shape shifts into a darted missile and dives down into the churning sea and emerges scant seconds later with a wriggling piece of silver clenched in its talons. And then disappears.
This post is a hard one to write. I don’t want to write. I really don’t want to do anything. I signed off from Critical Conversations 3 weeks ago reluctantly. I have posted weekly ever since I began three years ago. In my quiet time before that decision, a couple of things were occurring. I was reminded regularly that making space for silence and listening for the voice of the Spirit or Divine Love made my life simpler.
Two weeks ago, I wrote a post about our collective impotence to do anything about mass shootings and gun violence. I committed to write to national leaders in government, business, faith communities and nonprofits to request a root cause analysis and a commitment to end this uniquely American craziness. In the past two weeks, I have learned a little about the many efforts around the country which are inspiring and encouraging. And I have come to appreciate how challenging it is to figure out to whom to write and then, who might lead a deeper look at mass shootings and gun violence.
Joseph Campbell wrote about the “Heroes Journey.” In it, life is referenced as a journey wherein we may have very different heroes to propel us forward. When I think of heroes, three people come to mind. I’ll tell you about them because they shaped my life’s work for social justice, as well as guiding my retirement years.
Early July 2nd, a neighborhood block party became a mass shooting site in South Baltimore. Last count, three people were killed and 28 were injured. I will spare you the details of what kind of guns were used. You have read and seen enough of these stories to know it was a horrible act of violence with guns that don’t belong in this world. Mass killings are not a 2nd amendment right and no one in a free nation ought to live in daily fear of where the next attack will occur.
While I’ve thought of myself as a racial minority all my life, it is only in recent years that I’ve come to view the term “minority” negatively. I wasn’t sure why. I just knew that I didn’t like being referred to as a minority. I knew my reaction related to my growing racial justice awareness and understanding, but I couldn’t put my finger on what bothered me. Then, I heard the term “minoritized people” for the first time on a PBS special about Zora Neale Hurston, the author and anthropologist.
I found myself thinking this week a lot about my friend Greg Cantori’s post last week about who are our heroes and why? Greg called out for all of us the importance of honoring heroes who are working to bring about lasting, radical change to broken systems. As we celebrate our national birthday and “freedom day” in the United States, I am grateful for the freedoms we have and deeply saddened and frustrated by the persistence of so many ways we block freedom for all.I found myself thinking this week a lot about my friend Greg Cantori’s post last week about who are our heroes and why? Greg called out for all of us the importance of honoring heroes who are working to bring about lasting, radical change to broken systems. As we celebrate our national birthday and “freedom day” in the United States, I am grateful for the freedoms we have and deeply saddened and frustrated by the persistence of so many ways we block freedom for all.
911 responders, feeding and housing those who are homeless, an exhausted nurse during COVID, a Safe Streets worker talking others out of using a gun…. What do these extraordinary people have in common? They are our heroes helping, or pushing through indifference, inaction, panic, or a crisis.
Two recent experiences reminded me of the commonly cited Twelve Step saying: “Resentments kill.” This post will explore those two experiences and connect them to Twelve Step wisdom about resentments.