There are hundreds of petitions waiting for me to sign and as many as 435 government leaders I could write to today. There’s a march happening in about two hours and a hundred news articles I could post on my Facebook or Twitter that would give information I think is valuable for the world to know.
But I’m sitting quietly this morning, still in my pajamas, hair still a mess, heart and soul heavy – and, sad.
I remember these words from Judyth Hill:
Wage peace with your listening:
hearing sirens, pray loud.
Remember your tools:
flower seeds, clothes pins, clean rivers.
It’s only been two weeks and I’m drowning in my own unhealthy and untrue need to prove to the world that I care, that I am a part of the resistance, that I do not agree with bans and walls and fear mongering. I’m drowning in the need to prove to the world that I am angry, that I’m not complacent, that I’m not a part of the “white moderate” (as MLK says in Letter from Birmingham Jail), that I’m not a part of a Church that proclaims Jesus as Lord under the disguise of seeking to maintain power and hegemony.
So, I pause. I stop. The world spins on – madly, franticly, but I must stay still.
My tools, using the language of Hill’s poem, are love: accepting and giving, being seen and known – and knowing and seeing my neighbor. My tools are evenings at the gym where I can run and bike, yoga on Tuesdays, meditations in the morning with a cinnamon candle and rooibos tea.
My tools are church on Sundays and broken Spanish conversations and weekends with my boyfriend and listening to the podcasts I love. My tools are going to the meetings about advocating for better healthcare in an underserved part of my city, reading the Kaiser Health News articles every morning to understand what Medicaid block grants are and what health insurance mergers mean for insurance coverage and health care access.
My tools are laughing with my sisters, drinking wine with chocolate, listening to Beyonce, holding babies in the park, eating dinner with my parents in the middle of the week.
My tools is my life – and I want to live it well, I want to live it with intentionality and integrity, and most of all, love. Love for God, which beckons me to love myself and others.
I believe in the importance of the marches and petitions and phone calls and protests. I believe so much in these movements, the importance of action. And at the same time, I’m learning that this action coexists with contemplation, slowness, and rest.
My life, imperfect as it is, is my platform. It’s a life of activity coexisting with slowness and pauses, deep breaths and saying no. It’s a life of saying yes to love – over and over again even when it hurts, even when it is messy and doesn’t fit into 140 character messages and neatly explained posts with facts and bullet points.
Today I’m learning how to float instead of drown, and I’m using the tools as best I can to keep my head above the water.