Despair. That's what I'm feeling, and I know I'm not alone. Despair for a world that seems hell-bent on destroying itself, of pursuing mindless wealth and endless entertainment while so many languish in poverty and hopelessness. It cannot last, and it will not last. The only questions are how long, and at what cost?
What gives me hope? The Poor People's Campaign. People who are putting their bodies on the line for justice, equity, and compassion. People who are showing up for each other, and using what privilege and power they have for those who have it not.
I have always loved this familiar poem by Wendell Berry, but I don't think it's time to go to the woods (though self-care and battery sustenance are certainly necessary too!). So I took a few liberties:
When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children's lives may be
I go and lie down in the middle of street,
in front of the state capitol,
where the voracious politicians feed.
I come into the peace of resistance
on behalf of those who cannot afford to tax their lives
with forethought of grief.
I come into the presence of Beloved Community –
the whole, beautiful, blessed rainbow of humanity,
organized, faithful, determined, fearless, singing -
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light.
For a time I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.
Want to do some work with your own despair? Check out this interview with Joanna Macy.