Thursday, October 1, 2020

The Debate

The Mystery within...
The jarring “debate” between president Trump and Joe Biden was very unsettling. It highlighted the giant step backward America has taken politically. In my first memoire, God Never Hurries, I wrote, "Transformation is an on-going process, and not without some backsliding." I pray America will soon take two giant steps forward with Joe Biden and Kamala Harris leading us politically. 

I needed some comfort for my angst so I searched my past posts with the word “politics”. Eleven posts came up. I found the most comfort in the following paragraph from my July 16, 2018 post, titled “Spirituality and Politics”. 

 “I see great paradoxical promise in the scary political turmoil of our time that can give us all pause to reflect on our past, present and future. Will the quest for more and more money enslave some of us while others languish in poverty? Can the over consumption and destruction of our earth’s resources become an urgent understanding for a more reasoned and protective stance; or will we continue down a self-destructive path of no return? Can we see it takes a healthy village to raise a healthy child to create a healthy future? Can we replace judgment with compassion for others’ desperate acts? Can we be open to being changed? True forgiveness of the other, and ourselves, heals relationships. It is a never-ending task. The ability to love creativity is what spirituality is all about. The potential exists in all of us. Find and nurture it. In my heart, mind and soul I see no separation between spirituality and politics.” 

 I also took comfort in understanding I can look for ways to do my small part to help bring spirituality and politics together. My second memoir, Both/and Things—The Power in Reflection, brought to mind the late priest/paleontologist, Teilhard de Chardin, who believed we are all on an evolutionary path toward learning how to love unconditionally. Chardin’s prayer, which is in my blog’s Comfort Messages, “Above All Trust in the Slow Work of God”, suggests taking the long view: 

"Above all, trust in the slow work of God. We are quite naturally impatient in everything to reach the end without delay. We should like to skip the intermediate stages. We are impatient of being on the way to something unknown, something new. Yet it is the law of all progress that is made by passing through some stages of instability and that may take a very long time. And so I think it is with you. Your ideas mature gradually. Let them grow. Let them shape themselves without undue haste. Do not try to force them on as though you could be today what time -that is to say, grace- and circumstances acting on your own good will will make you tomorrow. Only God could say what this new Spirit gradually forming in you will be. Give our Lord the benefit of believing that his hand is leading you, and accept the anxiety of feeling yourself in suspense and incomplete. Above all, trust in the slow work of God, our loving vine-dresser."  Teilhard de Chardin 

Also in my blog’s Comfort Messages is a poem that I understand as Ego Training: 

People are unreasonable, illogical, and self-centered. Love them anyway. If you do good, people may accuse you of selfish motives. Do good anyway. If you are successful, you may win false friends and true enemies. Succeed anyway. The good you do today may be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway. Honesty and transparency make you vulnerable. Be honest and transparent anyway. What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight. Build anyway. People who really want help may attack you if you help them. Help them anyway. Give the world the best you have and you may get hurt. Give the world your best anyway. The world is full of conflict. Chose peace of mind anyway. Author: Anonymous

What if we could all remember transformation is often two steps forward and one step back; know the power in reflection; have a stash of comfort messages, and appreciate the long evolutionary path we are on toward becoming more empathic, compassionate, forgiving of ourselves and all others, and ultimately learn unconditional love.

1 comment :

  1. I'm in the UP for a week. The airbnb cabin was built by Jenny & Ryne, a couple who are ecologist and deeply devoted to protecting the environment. The cabin is gracious and simply but generously stocked with everything we need. Except there isn't a sharp knife in the kitchen. There should be. There was. A very nice - and expensive - Pampered Chef knife. Most likely a guest decided it was too good to leave behind.

    How does that matter to Jen & Ryne? How does that matter to me? And what does it have to do with the political fracas you described? You're likely thinking, "They should replace it with a less expensive knife." And, "You shouldn't expect much from an airbnb." But it's not the cost to Jen & Ryne to replace the knife or my inconvenience chopping vegetables for a week that is important here. That advice says "trust less", "don't be so generous", "don't look for trust and generosity from others." Every time someone does something hurtful, they are encouraging everyone affected to be less trusting, less generous. Even a pebble tossed in a Great Lake sends out ripples disturbing the surface of the water.

    Jen & Ryne will have to decide for themselves how to respond to what is, after all, a small loss. Will they pause to think before they decide what to replace the missing knife with? I want to open my home to guests while I'm traveling. Will I hide the good knives away from them, hide away my prized pottery? Is it stupid to be as generous and trusting as they are, as I am?

    We will all be challenged in the coming weeks, months, years to maintain, even grow, in trust and generosity. How will we respond to the assaults, big and little, against us? How do we maintain, even grow in trust and generosity in the world that is coming at us? How do we ourselves create a world where other people can feel safe enough to trust, to be generous?