My Acts of Defiance

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What is your small act of defiance? What carries you when the world’s weight becomes too heavy? What draws you out from under the covers to bravely face a new day? What do you cling to so you can parent and love and provide and honor? What do you pursue when all of it threatens to unravel?

The shooting this week in San Bernardino hits close. San Bernardino County is where I met my husband, my first day of a new high school in the January of our senior year. San Bernardino county is where my sister graduated, where my brothers grew up. Where three grandparents died, where my mother’s Memorial service was held, where this young teenager ate popsicles at the Grandma and Poppy’s house. San Bernardino County is where my husband raced his dirt bike through the prolific foothills, becoming the remarkable man he is today. The place where all the nooks for two very-in-love young adults were discovered, where we tied the knot. San Bernardino County is where my parents retired from a twenty-five-year ministry in a local congregation.

The facility under siege, the Inland Regional Center, where my Aunt received special provision for her unique needs. Her caregivers frequently associated with this county building.

A special place, a terrorized place. Our nation and world stretched to capacity, the wonder displaced by fear. Gun violence, terrorism, black deaths, Muslim deaths, transgender deaths, Planned Parenthood, schools. The questions asked, the answers evaded. The powers-that-be failing to protect, motivated by a myriad of reasons, none that seem worthy. Solutions slide through government fingers.

Plopped in a local coffeeshop, writing, listening to the buzz. Requests for cream and lattes, laughter and work meetings, punctuate the atmosphere.

Life goes on and on. The grind happens, the halting forward movement slowly flows again, for this is the nature of things, the world continues as it continues. The hurting still hurt, the distant are still distant, blood flows, oxygen gets breathed, laundry cycles, meals ingested. The species focused on the next and the next and the next.

We persist, we collectively grieve, we challenge fear, we forgive and right wrongs, we live in humility, searching to bring relief and hope to the weary and heartbroken. We find cause for celebration, healing conversation. We trust in curiosity and human dignity. We defy the power of evil, for we are no longer subject to that power. The malicious cannot claim us. We fight for life-giving hope, joy, love, mercy.

This defiance – honoring the good, the beautiful, the miraculous in my everyday – does not mean I live blind or callous or entitled. Defiant living means I live in truth, attentive to the rhythms of body and home life, aware of emotional demands.

Defiant living draws me outdoors to the beauty, draws me indoors to the puttering monotony. Defiant living gingerly, gently nudges me before dawn with steaming coffee and battered notebook, to my worn spot on the couch with tender whispers of surrender, stillness, counting, meditation. Defiant living propels me to the county dirt road – to run, to curse, to cry, to spill. Defiant living is the avenue for my peace, my joy, my hope, my love. Defiant living fuels my fight, directing me toward rest or persistence.

This defiance is not pie in the sky hope, this defiance is my attempt to string together enough goodness, beauty, gratitude as strength. A shield crafted in quiet combat, to stand firm in opposition to the fear and hopelessness, confident and knowing our promised peace is possible, reigning. Here. Now.

The world calls, the grocery store is full of people needing an eye-meet and covert smile. My daughter’s mouth needs braces, the kids have friends over, piano gets practiced, eggs are collected, the grappling of homework, heated conversations over beer, reveling in a ridiculous game, adorning the Christmas tree. It all happens. It is all part of the counting, the defense, the honoring of the hurting and broken.

The seeking, the naming of good, beautiful, remarkable, miraculous, and holy in the midst of the chaos and suffering is not a turning away, it is a defiance, it is an invitation to own, to dwell, to abide in the mystery, abundance.

Love fueling lives of generosity –  Heaven on Earth. Here. Now.

O come, O come, Emmanuel,
And ransom captive Israel,
That mourns in lonely exile here,
Until the Son of God appear.
Rejoice ! Rejoice ! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, Thou Dayspring, from on high,
And cheer us by Thy drawing nigh;
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night,
And death’s dark shadows put to flight.
Rejoice ! Rejoice ! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, Thou Wisdom from on high,
And order all things, far and nigh;
To us the path of knowledge show,
And cause us in her ways to go.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, Desire of nations, bind
All peoples in one heart and mind;
Bid envy, strife and quarrels cease;
Fill the whole world with heaven’s peace.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/94353977@N00/9681623794″>A rock and a hard place</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/”>(license)</a>

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