To love. To be loved. To never forget your own insignificance. To never get used to the unspeakable violence and the vulgar disparity of life around you. To seek joy in the saddest places. To pursue beauty to its lair. To never simplify what is complicated or complicate what is simple. To respect strength, never power. Above all, to watch. To try and understand. To never look away. And never, never to forget.
― Arundhati Roy, The Cost of Living
Are the days getting harder or am I just tired?
This was the question posed on our run this morning.
How do we go about our days as rights are being wrenched from our bodies? What do we do when we see a slew of white men making legislative and moral decisions about something they can never possibly understand? How are we supposed to feel as we watch the continued proof that white male lives matter most in a nation that claims equality as a value?
I’ll admit. I have become well acquainted with rage. As our leaders have revealed their true colors, we now know the reality. Our institutions are not for us, unless, of course, one fits into the aforementioned demographic.
So, back to the question. Are the days getting harder or am I just tired?
I’ve probably spent too much time being angry. According to the Kubler-Ross Model, anger is an essential part of the Five Stages of Grief. And believe me, I’ve been there. Time and time again returning to anger. It’s been quite a wrestle as I was well trained in the fine art of Christian womanhood. Expressing anger was not considered Christlike, nor what is considered ladylike. What I’ve come to discover as a normal, natural, essential emotion was relegated to the trash, placed on the curb for pickup, never to be felt again. Except that’s not how it works. Anger will find a way to be expressed – appropriate or not.
These past two-and-a-half years have been grieving years. And I continue to grieve. What has been revealed to us awake ones is wrong and malevolent. We now know who we are as a nation, as a people. We see the work ahead and it is overwhelming. Anger has an important place.
We experienced a massive loss, a death. The desperate state of our nation is worth grieving. It’s worth being angry. We had no clue who we were.
Hold on, wait a minute….
What I meant to say was, us privileged folk had no clue who we were. The people of color did, they knew. They tried to tell us but we couldn’t listen.
Death happened for many of us. Life as we once knew it is now over.
This is who we are.
And today I’m tired. The grief continues and while it abates for a moment, when I take some time to breathe, there’s inevitably another school shooting, another hate crime, another denial by lawmakers, another override of bodies.
I’ve been through the five stages and back again. I’ve lamented the loss. I’ve steeled for the uprising. I’ve fought in the resistance.
And I’m tired.
And it’s okay.
We don’t have to fight the grief anymore. The grief is real and it must not be denied.
It’s time to preserve our fight. As Rachel Held Evans claimed: God is in the business of resurrection we now get to fight for life. We choose to honor life that doesn’t just end at birth, but ends at death. We honor the sanctity of all life, including the life that holds the womb. We honor the right for each and every human born as entitled to a full and nurtured existence. We honor all lives as sacred, from those who cross our borders to those who are victimized because of the color of their skin.
God is in the business of resurrection and God is in the business of abundance. God is in the business of life and God is in the business of love.
God is in the business of rest and God is in the business of renewal.
And while the days are hard and today I am tired, the work will continue.
Angry or not. Here I come.