Saturday, 17 October 2015

The Crow Votes Yes

The crow started these two weeks of posts when she became enveloped in the cloud of negativity generated by the election.

You’ve seen and heard as much as I have: this person is a liar, that one doesn’t tell the truth, and you can’t believe what so-and-so says.  Like Chicken Little, many people are running around in a panic, sure the world will come to an end if their chosen candidate doesn’t get elected.

Sadly, spiritual people are not immune from the Chicken Little syndrome. More than a large share of the posts I’ve received on Facebook come from people who would normally be sending me Scripture verses that tell me that God has a plan for us so we can live in trust.

Living in a web of tension and anxiety is tiring and discouraging. When that happens,  you have a choice: choose to live in that  dark fog, or create some light. The inner crow banged on the bars of her cage and squawked loudly and insistently: “Let me out! I have something to say.” So I opened the door. The Crow’s posts were my small attempt to elevate the level of discussion beyond propaganda and partisanship.

By the time you read this, the politicians will be down to their last desperate grab for the undecided voter. Another day, and all the shouting and posturing will be over (and we’ll find new things to complain about.)

And then what? Business as usual?

If there is one thing I’ve learned from this experience, it is that we cannot leave politics only to the politicians. The word “politics” derives from the Greek word for citizen, and all of us are that. As Parker Palmer says, “Politics is the ancient and honorable effort to come together across our differences and create a community in which the weak as well as the strong flourish, love and power collaborate, and justice and mercy have their day.”

The day after the election, the business of politics will still be responsible for welcoming immigrants to this country; it will ensure that the weakest of our citizens is cared for; it will enforce laws that protect the community, guard the freedom to practice our faith, enact laws to protect our environment, regulate the finances of the land, safeguard freedom of expression. And that’s only the beginning of a very long list of responsibilities that affect us all. As citizens, it’s not only our privilege to vote, but also our business to engage in our communities for the good of all.

I’ve had enough of negativity and the darkness, cynicism and discouragement it creates in our communities and in our country. Instead, I timidly raise my hand; I’ll vote for Yes.

It’s just a little yes, but then, good things come in many sizes. I’m not sure what my quiet little yes will lead to – more involvement in environmental issues in our community? Helping a refugee family? Writing a letter to the editor of the paper? All of it is good...

As you may have noticed, I’m a big fan of community activist Parker Palmer. In one of his blogs, he writes about waking up cranky one morning (just like some of us will likely be waking up cranky the day after the election!) Then he reads this poem by Mary Oliver, called “Landscape.”

    Isn't it plain the sheets of moss, except that
    they have no tongues, could lecture
    all day if they wanted about

    spiritual patience? Isn't it clear
    the black oaks along the path are standing
    as though they were the most fragile of flowers?

    Every morning I walk like this around
    the pond, thinking: if the doors of my heart
    ever close, I am as good as dead.

    Every morning, so far, I'm alive. And now
    the crows break off from the rest of the darkness
    and burst up into the sky—as though

    all night they had thought of what they would like
    their lives to be, and imagined
    their strong, thick wings.

“Grace comes from surprising places,” writes Palmer. “This time it came from those crows. They reminded me that, though I was entangled in the darkness, I am not one with it — any more than the crows’ strong black wings are one with the night from which they fly. They reminded me that I, too, have wings to lift me out of the darkness toward the light I would like my life to be, wings of faith and will, imagination and skill.”

And to that, I say Yes!

1 comment:

  1. Good one, Jessie.....and so true. Thanks for the reminder.