Moon: Post Election Reflections
13, 2016, 5:20 am
darkness sits full on my front porch accompanied by stillness and silence. It’s
a holy darkness. Not a hint of breeze or sound of a neighborhood cat walking
across fallen leaves, not even a glimmer of the moon in the sky. What new birth
might this womb-darkness hold?
Tomorrow morning there will be a super-moon, the largest
full moon since 1948, a year before I arrived on earth. As I am part of the
baby boom that followed one of the darkest periods in world history, it feels
like a sign of hope.
I am grieving, and it’s a more complicated grief than who
won and lost the election. I grieve the depth of our division and divisiveness
as a people and the kind of darkness that has marred and marked our discourse for
too long. Rather than a holy darkness, it’s a sticky darkness filled with tar
pits for the unwary.
Restoring civility is not
enough if that means reducing discomfort by calling for unity and slapping a
veneer of politeness on top of genuine differences. While the vitriol has been
unprecedented, it is also revealing. The cover has been pulled and there’s
genuine ugliness and pain underneath. The pain needs acknowledgment and
redress. The ugliness needs to be named and owned. It’s OURS. We need to go
deeper while we find our way forward, not shallower as we seek to return to the
Scott Peck in his “The
Different Drum: Community Making and Peace” says that ‘politeness and
pretending’ provide entry into community life. It has an order that allows us
to come together, almost like a honeymoon. The next phase, when differences can
no longer be glossed over, plunges into chaos. This is where different ‘sides’ come
to a fever pitch in their efforts to convert the misguided other to the right
way of seeing and being (which of course coincides with “my” way, whatever it
is). We’re there.
Retreating to politeness and pretending is tempting but doesn’t
work. It will last only until the next boil over. The invitation – and I
believe it is a spiritual one – is to stay in the chaos with an attitude of
humility and a willingness to open to more than the opinions I already hold.
It means resisting finger pointing and name calling, both
of which make objects of ‘wrong-headed others,’ stripping them of their
essential humanity. It means looking in
the mirror and reflecting on my own ‘isms’: “Why do you look at the speck in
your brother’s or sister’s eye and do not see the log in your own?” It means dangerous
listening for the humanity of the other beneath positions that are inconceivable
to me. It’s dangerous because truly meeting another can shift my perspective.
I am not talking about making room for hate or pretending
all values are equal; I am talking about making space for genuine human-to-human
meeting in the spirit of moral humility rather than moral arrogance. We live in
a country split down the middle and I need to learn more than I can access in the
echo chambers of my own moral tribe.
It won’t be easy, but it is worthy work. If we can engage
it well, what feels like chaos can become the fertile edge of the new creation where
the breath of God calls new forms into being. Engaging it well is what transformational
practices at Bread of Life are all about.
The sky is lightening outside my window, silhouettes of
familiar trees standing dark against the sky. Soon there will be wisps of color signifying the new day. Join me – and us - in receiving the gift of each new day with
gratitude and in growing into the kind of people together that we can choose to
Engaging the Shadow, part 1: 90% pure gold
Engaging the Shadow, part 2: that last 10% is
a killer (literally)
The phenomena of being ‘left behind’
The human experience of being ‘other’