As we move into the fourth week of President-Elect Donald Trump, I come to you again with a few thoughts and a poem that wants to be shared.
Perhaps, like me, you have struggled to find your footing as the news of each day tumbles in. Perhaps, as you navigate the everyday necessities of your personal life you have wondered where and how to best participate in the political resistance that seems so urgently necessary at this time. If it is hard to keep your balance, you have company. These are dangerous and volatile times. But as the heroic “water protectors” of Standing Rock show us, prayer, song, and meditation are not optional. They are more important than ever. And the relationships we build while standing against the storm will carry us through.
The poem I bring you was inspired by the Occupy Wall Street movement that riveted my attention and called me to action in the Fall of 2011.
Panim el Panim (Face to Face)
I have seen God face to face—and I live. (Gen 32:31)
Don’t take yourself out of the conversation.
Look. Your absence
leaves a hole
nothing can fill.
This is why the earth is troubled.
Too many absences—
failing to show up
where they are needed, arms
withheld from the fight, voices
held back from the song,
the song that wants us
to sing it.
A great change is in the winds—
take it in.
You don’t need to be everywhere,
only somewhere, choosing
your sounds, your cadence
allowing the space
between thoughts to ripple
among the circles of breathers,
birthers, standers, speakers,
the ones, choosing and chosen,
who bear us
who will carry us whole
and holy into our
new lives, the lives
we are almost living.
Yes, there is a world that is coming,
and we must be here to meet it.
Don’t leave a shadow, a trace
where your true face
needs to be.
Turn this way. And live.
Say what you see.
Our political and environmental landscape is frightening, but I believe the awful winds are bringing change—a new kind of economy, a way of living together in the world as beings who see, in one another and in the earth herself, the many faces of God. I don’t know how long this struggle will last or whether I or my children will live to see these new ways manifest in political realities. But I have faith in the outcome. Or perhaps it is more accurate to say I choose faith, faith over fear, because it helps me live more fully.
And I pledge to do my part. I promise, with you as my witnesses, to pay attention to what my part may be at any given time. I am called to be engaged, but not swept up, in the politics of the day.
Some of us must go to the front lines. Perhaps that time is now, or perhaps we will be called soon. (We don’t have to be everywhere. Only somewhere.) In my own life I know there are times when I know I must be physically present at an action, whether a demonstration, a City Council hearing or a community gathering. Other days my activism may consist of phone calls or on-line donations and social networking. Some days, even in these times, I choose to take in no news but the news I get from my family and friends or the announcements I hear from the trees in my neighborhood woods.
Some days I must write a new poem—or, like today, create a new post. Nothing else will do for this particular day.
This past Monday evening, I needed to be at the Free Library of Philadelphia where my favorite politician, Senator Bernie Sanders, was interviewed by my favorite journalist, Amy Goodman. I needed to be in the presence of people who profoundly inspire me. Part of my work now—and perhaps it is so for you too—is to seek out and stay tuned to leaders who, in their passion for justice and commitment to truth-telling give me hope for our future and fuel for my own fire. They are not often found in Main Stream Media, but these are the public voices to which I closely attend. I let the others fall away. They do not guide me.
I am called, as I expect you are also, to work with others in my local communities toward common political goals and to step into leadership when, and only when, the time is right and the way clear.
Hineyni. It means, Here I am, dear ones. I am doing the best I can to discern where and how I am needed in these times.
Wherever you are, I send you love~
PS: Want to write with me this winter or spring? The December circles are full, but the dates are set for January through May. See the Upcoming Events on this page, and contact me if you want to explore.
- Sample Writing Circle at Big Blue Marble Books, Sunday January 8. 4-6 pm, 551 Carpenter Lane, Philadelphia, PA 19119.
- Wissahickon Sample Writing Circles (Weather Permitting): Thursdays, January 19 and February 16, 2:30-4:45 PM. The Cedars House (In the Wissahickon Park, Forbidden Drive and Northwestern Ave, Philadelphia, PA.) Fee: $27 for each session. $50 for both. Register by January 12 for one or both.
- Winter Writing Circle in Susan’s kitchen, Mt. Airy, Philadelphia. 7 Fridays, January 27-Mar 10 (Weather dates: Mar 17,24). $175 ($140 for registration by January 15).
- Spring Wissahickon Writing Circle at The Cedars House 8 Thursdays, March 23-May 18 (NO Apr 20). $216 ($200 for registration by March 16).
Through the Gates
Letters and poems illuminating each of the forty-nine days of the Omer, the ancient Jewish practice marking the days between the spring festival of Passover and the summer festival of Shavuot—for spiritual explorers of all traditions! Read more or purchase….