Thursday, 13 June 2019

Be the change

Reading: I Know This Much is True by Wally Lamb
Listening to: "Be" by Neil Diamond
Outside: Rain threatens and waits.

Us and a flower.
- Bentley Park, April 18, 2019

So I was on the treadmill yesterday, and a little bug of a thought got jittering around in my head and wouldn't stop buzzing. I ran through it, but it still wouldn't let me go, and so I'm here to tell you about Things That Rustle My Jimmies.

I mean there are quite a few things.

Like when I leave the windows open and it rains.

Or when I have laundry drying on the line and it rains.

Or when there's a bee in my living room and she doesn't listen when I say the window is open over here. Over here. But they're endangered and important to the planet so I have to do everything I can to get her out safely without her getting scared and stinging me and dying. Cue a lot of gentle paper-wafting, coaxing, and a little bit of nervous sweat.

Or when a TV Preacher asks his congregation for millions of dollars to fund his fourth private jet. I mean, why in the world? Why are we even allowing this? Is this not the exact opposite of what Jesus represented? (I am not a Christian myself - despite every effort of my family's early teachings; I have learned over time that I am who I am: I've learned you should never try to wear shoes that don't fit, because they will hurt. But that doesn't prevent me from recognizing, and being, a Decent Human Being.) There are countless others, real religious leaders all over the world, working night and day to scrape up funding so that they can keep their church or mosque or synagogue doors open, so that they can sponsor food drives or library collections, so that they can donate money to the people who need it most, and this guy wants a fourth private jet. This particular TV Preacher, certainly narcissistic if not psychotic, appears intoxicated on his own power; religion has nothing to do with it but is merely the vehicle for his obsessive hoarding.

Or, of course, a giant Wall. Wow, that Wall. (Why stop with merely one Wall? Why don't we build walls between every single state, crossing rivers and roads? Why not put them in our back yards, turn every house into a fortress? Why not? Let's close everybody out. Because who can you trust? The only thing we have to fear is tolerance and understanding.)

Or America's lax gun laws, so lax it's as if the laws don't even really exist.

Money, not humanity, seems to be running the United States right now. And pretty much always has, off and on, since Columbus came in and shit all over everything the Native Americans worked so hard to create, protect and preserve. That's why we have psychotic TV preachers. And ass-backwards abortion laws (because let's remember, in America's Deep South, lawmakers have decided that they can rule women's reproductive organs, and by doing so, have not prevented abortions, but have prevented safe abortions).  Also we have staggering medical bills, because in America, treating illness is a business. It's purely numbers, cash and coin. 

Stephen King wrote somewhere (maybe it was in The Long Walk?) about how we're all trying to create a bulwarks against mortality. We all want something to leave behind, a monument to the world to proudly declare, I Was Here. What is your bulwarks going to look like? What are you collecting, earning, or making today that you will leave behind? Is it cartridges of ammunition or compassion for others? Trouble or trust? Will it be a Wall, studded with sentries, or will it be sharing a table of photographs with your family and friends - sharing stories of infancy, of travel, that sense of wonder of the world? Will it be an invitation to share a book or a meal, to make a friend, to hold a hand - or will it be fear and anger? Will it be prejudice or promise? Music or madness?

How about the future voices of your children (or nieces or nephews or beloved friends' children)? After all, that's the great biological imperative - to keep our species going. Will they speak only of making money and buying things, or about how they helped someone learn to dance or play the piano? Will they squash a bug or save it? Will they be proud, and happy, and will they do nice things for others? Will they recognize the nice things others did for them? Will they know that kindness is far, far more important than cleverness? I mean, really, really know it?

So here's what I think: let's celebrate those real leaders who have left a lasting monument through bravery and deep truth: Chief Seattle, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Gandhi. 

Let's help that guy trying to get on the bus with a stroller. Let's pick up that piece of trash. Let's pay a stranger a compliment and make their day. Let's help someone up the stairs. Let's put the phone down and listen to our children. Let's recycle for crying out loud. I know, I've been there with the excuses: I'm running late, I'm too busy, too tired, my hands are too full - I admit it.  But kindness is the most important gift to bestow upon those who will inherit the earth. Our children are watching.

Be the change, friends. Be the change.

Lena awe-struck - a Monument to Flowers.
She calls it hers. I assure her she will make her own someday.
- Bentley Park, April 18, 2019

Happy Thursday, everyone!

1 comment:

  1. you have such an elegant way of putting things sweetie. You speak from the heart and I applaud you for it. i also agree with all you have said. What would i like to leave behind, just knowing that my children and their children have grown up knowing how much they are loved and are the most important and best things in my life. xx