Why right now, being grateful for your family is not enough
Is it possible I would say Gratitude is not enough? Is there a time when that is the truth?
I would say yes...and no. The "and" is important here.
Right now, this country is in a dark, dark time. Children have been separated from their parents, human rights violated, new depths of morality tested. This is not a political post. There are no politics here. I will not debate immigration policy.
But I will debate morality.
If you are like me, you cannot sleep at night. You cry spontaneously through the day. You wonder if you have ever felt so powerless before.
I reach out to my allies and good friends who are leaders in this fight regionally and nationally and I feel even their despair.
And I wonder what the hell could I be grateful for right now?
And today, I am grateful for my rage.
Today, I am grateful that my heart breaks and aches.
Today, I am grateful that I cannot and will not be numb to this.
I am grateful that I am awake enough to feel it. I am grateful that this rage will meld with the rage of those around me to call out and cry for this to stop. For history to not repeat itself, once again.
And I am grateful for words of solace that I come back to from James Finely, a Trappist monk, who was asked why evil exists.
Instead of giving an answer that explained evil through a spiritual or karmic lens, he gave an answer that gives me comfort and I hope it does for you.
"We can’t make sense of (evil)...nor should we. We can never reason away the reality of evil and it is a mistake to try. Evil exists. Unreasonable cruelties happen and some may happen to you.”
He did not deny evil. It is not only okay, but necessary, to call it out. And he continued...
“The next level of that answer is that you take what cannot be changed on the outside and you transcend it on the inside. You use the external crisis to transform you, past the point at which crises of evil, despair, or destruction can destroy you. You must become stronger within by building a capacity inside of you that can respond to the world around you with a much greater power, the power of love.”
Now, let me be straight with you. I am not ready to love. I am full of rage and am ready to fight. But what I can do is let the power of the love I have for this world, for these families and for justice, fuel my work to change what is before me.
And I can use my love for justice be what buoys me when hope sometimes falters.
And so, I tell you today that Gratitude for having your own children close to you is necessary but not enough.
That is only the first sign of our privilege and our need and to take a stand at this time.
And remember that each act of tender care for yourself and your families is an act of love for this work as well. No lie. If you don't care for yourself, none of us can collectively make change. So that work is part of the larger work.
Take that Gratitude for your life, your families, your Love for justice and do the work that is needed to do.
Live (and fight) well,
Take action: Mobilize on June 30 at 11 a.m. Lafayette Square, Washington, D.C. Organizers expect more than 100 actions to take place nationwide.
FIND OR SIGN UP TO HOST AN EVENT IN YOUR COMMUNITY HERE: FamiliesBelongTogether.org