We who lose our footing have lost our way.
― Anasazi Foundation
Well, it’s been one and a half weeks. How are you? The ground is rumbling. While none of this is a surprise it still feels like a shock. Decency feels far off and truth is a craved delicacy. I often wonder if I’ve missed something, why I haven’t been let in on the secret.
Resistance is our new normal. Gathering information, my daily task. Reading, writing, calling my Congressional representatives. I resist through living my life, trying not to succumb to fear and pressure. I don’t always succeed. I seek time with loved ones and try to gain understanding and new perspective. I ask questions and pray and meditate and drive my kids to school and eat well. I take my frustration out at the gym and renew with laughter and naps. But the uncertainty threatens to undo, threatens to knock me off balance and send me careening.
I spent many years in Southern California, relocating from Washington State at the young age of twelve. Earthquakes were happenstance, often rolling and jerking us awake during the early morning hours. Each time was different, some episodes were smooth waves, others a jolt – some short, others too long.
We lived the dream those days, with a swimming pool as our backyard. After jumping out of bed to stand in the doorway while the earth bounced under my trembling legs, my main floor bedroom afforded me a disconcerting view of the backyard pool – the swish, sway and slosh of water onto the concrete sidewalk.
Friends, our pool is sloshing. The ground on which we stand rattles and quakes and our presumed national safeguards are crumbling.
I find myself often unsteady, unmoored.
Every day news has become another opportunity to recognize my uncertain footing. Things that aren’t supposed to be happening are happening and I’m unsure how to make sense of this new world around me. The firehose of news is full throttle, most things a terrible shock.
I get it, this is a very privileged perspective to own. A sign at the Women’s March gives me pause: If you’ve only been scared since 2016, that’s called Privilege. Humbling and poignant and true. I have not needed to fear my own government. Many of us have not, on this American soil, needed to fear our own government. Wait, I should clarify: Many of us who are white, straight and male have not had to fear our own government. To be a person of color, to be Muslim or gay or trans or disabled – a much different story. A narrative where fear is the main course of the daily diet.
I cling to faith and I cling to prayer. I cling to my community and my self-care practices. I cling to resistance and finding like-minded people who want to gather together.
I find respite in the economy of the Beatitudes:
You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope.
You’re blessed when you feel you have lost what is most dear to you.
You’re blessed when you’re content with just who you are – no more no less.
You’re blessed when you’ve worked up a good appetite for God.
You’re blessed when you care.
You’re blessed when you get your inside world – your mind and heart – put right.
You’re blessed when you can show people how to cooperate instead of compete or fight.
You’re blessed when your commitment to God provokes persecution.
-Matthew 5, The Message
And I remember, we are in this for the long haul. Our resistance is required with no end in sight. We cannot afford to get tired or worn out. We need to take personal breaks when necessary. We must have compassion for ourselves and others. This is a long road. We are early in the marathon, friends. In the early miles, we have to slow down, we have to reserve energy and motivation for the later miles, to be able to finish strong. Find your pace, what works for you and protect this rhythm. Seek relief and refuge and healing. We need each other. We need our efforts. We must hone our love for the world, for one another. Return to grace and hope through shared community, through honest conversation, through a good book. We must listen to our bodies and rest when necessary.
But the most important thing I return to, remembering I am the hands and feet of Jesus. My work doesn’t alter, it depends not upon who my President is. My work is love. My responsibility is to the least of these, to my neighbor, to my family. My greatest opportunity is seeking justice for the oppressed. This is where the relief is, where the true resistance lies, where hope rests. I can be afraid for myself, but not for long, for the work is plentiful and the work is life-giving and good. We are each created in the image of God, let this elevation of humanity be our foremost task.
The pool may be sloshing, the ground may be unsteady but our anchor is in the unwavering and steady hand of God. She is our touchpoint, our hope. And Jesus is the model for how we move forward – in generous and mighty Love.