Saturday, February 18, 2017

Tearing Up

"People will oppress each other—
    man against man, neighbor against neighbor.
The young will rise up against the old,
the nobody against the honored." 
~ Isaiah 3:5, New International Version

I didn't realize I could see it.  I noticed this morning.  The sign.  

We all noticed it of course, or at least those of us who noticed - though there really wasn't an opportunity for any of us to manage to talk about it.  Right here, in what (they say) is one of the top ten "best places to live" towns of our size (smallish, mostly) in America, here in semi-rural, attempting-to-be-suburban Oregon.  

One day, the neighbor down the street put up a sign.  Block letters.  Across the garage.  Two cars worth of width, double spaced (if one could double space a sign on a garage, perhaps one might call it single).  "WE MUST RESIST THIS PRESIDENT.", it said, I think in all capital letters.  I would need to look at the picture to check.  Yes, all capital letters.

I saw it when I got the mail - it's very close to our community mailbox.  I think perhaps I noticed something was up when an oversized, souped up red (was it red?) pickup truck drove by and deliberately slowed, like we sometimes slow down in our neighborhood to look at a house strung with lights.  

The guy in the truck didn't look particularly happy.

"I wonder how long it will be up."  I thought.  I had a feeling it wouldn't be.  

Sure enough.  I don't know when or how it happened.  But I sense that it did.  It doesn't look like the rain or the wind.  Had I known I could see it from my house, I would have captured both the "before" and the "after".


I always forget I can now see houses out that window.  Or a couple of flags. 

That particular neighbor cut down a beautiful tree, a very healthy, wonderful tree I would have said was worth attempting to save (but often opportunistic tree cutters earning a profit on trees here in Oregon might tend to say otherwise - and they always have plenty of "reasons", not all of them good ones or actually true).  

I was so astonished that day, as if frozen, horrified actually, watching those vibrantly abundant limbs efficiently and methodically sliced, this rough cut sort of a man (kind of like an older version of the guy in the truck) so very casually shimmying up.  Jolting awake, I ran to get my phone with the camera because I wanted to remember the tree as it once was - but I mostly managed to capture how it wasn't.  Mostly too late.  People tend to think trees aren't actually "Alive".  Some of us tend to Know otherwise.  We honor their space and the gifts that they bring to us.


On a day when I wasn't expecting it.

I'm moving soon.

Let's talk about this notion of "resist".  I totally "get" what people are talking about, but let's talk about why that's completely the wrong kind of an energy.  Let's talk about how "resistance" only energetically empowers that which you are pushing against, so that it pushes back.  In fact, it even creates it.  Is that what we all want?


And it is utterly and completely the opposite direction of where we need to Be.  We need to Flow like a river and not "push up against" anything, really.  It is Flow that carries Real power.

I hear it all the time now.  Friends and family are no longer speaking.  Neighbor no longer talking to neighbor.  Rampant Facebook unfriends.

Torn never really solves anything.  Torn just makes matters worse.  And sometimes those things become buried, unresolved, so they can do more tearing later.  Torn unfolds exactly what it is. 

It just leads to more tearing.

Instead of tearing one another to bits, we need to be talking.  Talking does not imply agreeing.  It doesn't imply either being any less firm about the things one chooses to be firm about.  Talking does, however, have a tendency to reveal that the "sides" don't quite exist.  And those on the fence become apparent.

We need to be teaching - when there are opportunities to teach.  And we need to be learning - and there are always ways to learn. 
We need to be listening.  Listening does not always imply actually understanding, but it does tend to help.

Add forgiveness to the mix, and the tears begin to flow.  And suddenly you have Empathy.  There's another way to treat a neighbor, and it's in the Bible, too.

Oh no, I didn't claim it is going to be easy.  This sort of work rarely is.  Ask people like Immaculee Ilibagiza .  Or Archbishop Tutu.  But the alternative is worse.  (Ask people like Immaculee Ilibagiza.  Or Archbishop Tutu.)

"Persistence" instead of "resistance", that's the general idea.  Persistence leads to Peace.

Because there are Miracles.  Immaculee does the Archbishop.  So can We.

(Just in time...remembered as Whole.)