“In each of us, two natures are at war – the good and the evil. All our lives the fight goes on between them, and one of them must conquer. But in our own hands lies the power to choose what we want most to be we are.” … Robert Louis Stevenson
It's been a long time since I've posted. I hope by the end of this one, you'll realize it was better for me not to have been writing these past several months. Thanks for hanging in there with me via emails, texts or FB. Kathleen
I have never in my life felt so strong a tug at the center of my being as I have since the 20th of January, 2017. To say that I have lived my adult life as apolitical is kind. I’ve never been staunch in my leanings towards one party or the other. And truth be told, I am not now. I’ve resisted the many Blue offers that have come my way.Because if there is only one learning in this moment (and there are many) it is that evil can wrap itself in whatever wrapper serves it. It’s not that we can point and say “he is evil” or “they are evil” as if they have always been and always will be. No, there must be some other criteria for discernment and judgment from which to make our choices. Red and Blue although convenient politically and expedient, never hold the whole truth. And those who mindlessly follow this rainbow have been duped.
But in fact that’s not what I sat down to write about at all. Rather, my pen comes to paper to talk about the struggle for who I am and how I live and what this country is and how it participates in the world. Because it’s these things that have been playing out in me and through me; sometimes in spite of me and sometimes with me as the majorette, these last 6 months. I sat down to write about the tug to join in the defiance—as it seems the only defense to the offenses of an administration that appears value-less, morally bankrupt, elitist and corrupt beyond imagining all at the same time. I sat down to write about how anything I hear from this White House and this administration sickens me—and how I don’t find that it reflects my values, my moral compass, my compassion, my hopes or dreams for a Great Nation.
However even beyond that, I sat down to write about how this tragedy of an administration has succeeded in more ways than I care to admit to suck me into the swamp with them. How I’ve responded most often with a visceral revulsion. How when I look back at some of the things I’ve said or implied…I don’t recognize the person who would say that in that way. I sat down to write about this division within me created by the chaos around me and to put it into words as a step towards healing and change.
Because it’s not the Tale of Two Cities, or two countries or two nations really as Dickens might write. And it’s not even simply the divergent path in the woods of Frost. But in bold Stevenson language—what I’ve been experiencing in my own self really is: “In each of us, two natures are at war – the good and the evil. All our lives the fight goes on between them, and one of them must conquer. But in our own hands lies the power to choose – what we want most to be we are.”
And there it is… “in our own hands lies the power to choose…” I am coming to realize that in a situation of awful consequences and proportions, in a battle for a way of life and a way forward for those who come behind us, we are not well served allowing ourselves (allowing myself) to be carried on by emotion or chided by negativity. That I (we) must dig deeper than that to be a part of the solution instead of simply being a participant in the fallout. We must dig deeper, you and I because it lies in our hands to choose—and what we want most to be we are.
It’s a take on the Native American proverb told about a young boy asking his grandfather about the pull in his own nature. The grandfather said there are two wolves at war within you, one for good and one for evil. “Which one wins?” the young man wanted to know. To which the wise grandfather replied: “the one you feed.”
I like the word Julia Cameron coined “crazy makers.” We all have someone(s) that come to mind in our life even when we hear that word for the first time. In my opinion, since January “crazy makers” have moved in to the most respected institution and highest offices of our country. “Crazy makers” are calling the shots…are bending and changing the rules. And without paying close enough attention to the core of our very selves… otherwise sane, kind, good people have been sucked into the crazy—myself included.
Perhaps we have succumbed to a survival mode. We have joined in the frenzy. We have in the craziness forgotten who we are. Which is the saddest realization of all. We’ve started to act like them; allowed ourselves to feed the wrong wolf. And it’s time, at least for me, to stand down.
Shocked by one particular political cartoon, in just that moment I remembered there is another wolf to be fed. Another strong, noble, fierce animal that depends on us for survival. This other wolf is recognized in civility, compassion, kindness, protection of the environment, protection of the hungry, the homeless the least. This other wolf cares for the globe and all the people who inhabit it. This other wolf cares for the earth, its rivers, streams and air. And I remembered that though distracting, it’s not by becoming like ‘them’ that we shall prevail.
I’ve been disgusted and angry since January; I’m done with that. Today I begin my road to recovery. Working for what is good and right takes as much energy as throwing stones at those who work against it. Likely the former bears more fruit. So I am emptying my pockets of all those pebbles I’ve been carrying around. And I’m going to begin the long road ahead to being who I already know I am. Thank you Robert Louis Stevenson for the reminder that “what we want most to be we are.” Though I got here on my own, in ecclesial language I will only be able to climb out “with God’s help.” I seek your prayers.
Believing and in hope,
Kathleen Bronagh Weller