Friday, February 10, 2017

Holes that need mending

Illustration for Little Mermaid by Asami Kiyokawa. 2007. Fabric
“For nothing is fixed, forever and forever and forever, it is not fixed; the earth is always shifting, the light is always changing, the sea does not cease to grind down rock. Generations do not cease to be born, and we are responsible to them because we are the only witnesses they have. The sea rises, the light fails, lovers cling to each other, and children cling to us. The moment we cease to hold each other, the sea engulfs us and the light goes out.” ― James Baldwin

“Sometimes that’s all it takes. Just one person to turn everything on its head. Remind you of the person you were.” ― Samantha Towle, Trouble

“You know, life fractures us all into little pieces. It harms us, but it's how we glue those fractures back together that make us stronger.” ― Carrie Jones, Entice

There seems to be a lot of things that need mending in my life, and I am not just talking about the loose buttons, ripped skirt hems, and snagged holes in my sweaters. My son’s used car’s engine is beyond repair. My butterfly bush needs pruning again due to an ice storm. Did I mention I have family relationships that need transformation after ten years of not speaking and a reckoning is coming soon due to a death of a favorite Uncle. Then, there is the living room walls need re-painted. Writing this list down, they all seem pretty restorable. (Okay not the car.)

Really what I am driving at is something bigger. Right now. At this moment. A chasm is expanding. I watch the hole rip wider from a leader who is rallying others to stalk, beat-up, and deface personal property of those who are different (e.g., racism, sexism, abilities, agism).  No matter how much I attempt or my friends attempt to stabilize it by sewing patches or knitting stitches--it grows.  I knew there was this undercurrent, but I never knew its extent.  It feels far worse than having my big toe poke through a hole in my hose while I’m at work and don’t have a replacement pair.   

Syende fiskerpige by Anna Ancher. 1890. oil on canvas.
See it at Randers Kunstmuseum 

Two Sewing 
By Hazel Hall, 1921

The wind is sewing with needles of rain;
With shining needles of rain
It stitches into the thin
Cloth of earth—in
In, in, in.
(Oh, the wind has often sewed with me!—
One, two, three.)

Spring must have fine things
To wear. Like other springs.
Of silken green the grass must be
Embroidered. (One and two and three.)
Then every crocus must be made
So subtly as to seem afraid
Of lifting color from the ground
And after crocuses the round
Heads of tulips, and all the fair
Intricate garb that Spring will wear
The wind must sew with needles of rain,
With shining needles of rain
Stitching into the thin
Cloth of earth—in,
In, in, in—
For all the springs of futurity
(One, two, three.)

I don't have any easy answer for this problem.  I saw this video yesterday by Robby Fischer entitled: "Fight Despair with Defiance."  It gave me an energy boost of hope.  
The take home message for me was a radical and defiant person takes action against a bully by using their gifts and talents to make a difference.  It isn't about changing the bully's life. Instead, the defiant person creates the community they want to have no matter what the bully says.  

The bully and his/her crowd is not going to listen to your analysis and logic.  Instead they will use your information and turn it around by lying, discrediting, intimidating and isolating you. 

Fischer calls us to use our gifts and talents.  If your gifts and talents are chaining yourself to fences during a protest--use it.  If your gifts and talents are gardening--use it and fill your community's pantries with food and teach kids to grow food. If your gifts and talents are art, music, or writing--use it.  This is what will overpower the bullies and their followers in the end.   Your gifts and talents creating a beloved community.

BIG TAKE HOME: Don't tear each other down.  If you aren't into marching--don't tear down the people who are into marching.  If you aren't into picking up the phone and calling to voice your opinion--don't tear that person who is has this passion to do this.  If you aren't into gardening--don't tear that person down who is putting food on the table.

INSTEAD: Honor and celebrate how we each show our gifts of courage against the bully by creating a community where kindness rules and everyone has a voice and feels like they belong.  

1 comment:

  1. Beth, this is the second time I read this piece and I love it all the more. Thank you for reminding me that kindness does rule.
    Nancy Jo


Hi all - I really like your comments, but have had a change of heart regarding anonymous comments. My CCWWW beliefs are that you need to stand behind what you say and what you do. Peace out.