I am old. Or at least I feel that way right now. And the blessing and power of age is that I feel resolute. Anxious, but resolute.
I am a child of a segregated south. I watched the murders of my president and my heroes Bobby and Martin; I witnessed news reports of cities on fire. I walked over grass flattened by the Poor People’s March On Washington. I laughed with black kids imported from black schools to meet Gov. Holden’s desegregation quotas, while strangers shouted “n*****-lover”. And all that was before I got a driver’s license.
We have lived chaos before. We Americans have grappled with the meaning of “democracy” and “liberty,” and have had a president who believed he was above the law (DICK NIXON *clap clap* BEFORE HE DICKS YOU). What is in my living memory resides in others, too. We don’t have to go to some other country’s history to see lessons in coping with being marginalized and demonized. We can see this in the cyclic work of our country’s contradictions. I offer these gleanings.
Institutions will not automatically grow democracy. Individuals have to work at it, cultivating the individual habits of mutuality and accountability that are core to institutional success.
We each have ways of moving through these tough times. Protesters create space for conversation. Writers invite us to intersections of issues, norms, imagination. Moms and dads modeling mutual respect and loving dissent in everyday relations cultivate democratic habits–with their friends and with their kids. Sciencing on the regular normalizes critical thinking. Reading books in groups cultivates safe space for thinking out loud. Living in your own authenticity and with intention plants habits of courage and hope in your soul.
Do not be dismayed by the brokenness of the world.
All things break. And all things can be mended.
Not with time, as they say, but with intention.
So go. Love intentionally, extravagantly, unconditionally.
The broken world waits in darkness for the light that is you.
~~L. R. Knost
12 thoughts on “Grappling”
Stunning! This sure hits home today. Many thanks ❤
Thank you for the inspirational poem. I will sit with it and ponder it to inform my own decisions how I will show up in the coming years.
You are so welcome. I am happy to pass it on.
Your writing is a balm for me tonight, Kay. It’s easy to get snagged and pulled below the surface with each new assault on the law and civil rights. You’ve reminded me that things have gotten broken, and they have gotten mended. Thank you for your broad and deep, and very wise, perspective
I am deeply humbled that my words could ripple hope through others.
Hi, Kay! I’m an old college buddy of Brad’s and he turned me on to this. What a wonderful writer you are! I can’t wait to read more of your work.
Thank you, Adrienne, for your encouraging words! The support lifts my resolve to post my musings, and complete difficult posts! 🙂 Kay
A gentle and thoughtful reminder that things don’t always go from bad to worse. Thank you.
I appreciate your leaving me a note, letting me know that my intention has been received. Thank you, Judith. Kay
Kay, I am an old friend of Brad’s from his horseback riding days in NC. Brad turned me on to Africa and I am glad we still keep in touch via Facebook. I followed you here and just love your images and wonderful words!
Thank you, Melissa, for connecting with me, and letting me in on how you got here! What a small, wonderful world.