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Everyday Spirituality

Last December, the Catskill Mountain News printed an article written by my co-writer, Brian Sweeney, titled, “County Dems organizing Women’s March trip.” Surprising myself, I signed up to ride the Rally bus, organized by the democrat committee members, from Delhi to Washington D.C. on January 21, 2017, one day after the presidential inauguration.

The Women’s March germinated when a grandmother in Hawaii made a comment of protest on Facebook after this nation’s recent presidential election day. The idea quickly grew into a solidarity march to fight for human rights, civil liberties, and social justice for all.

I don’t like crowds. I’m not political minded. I haven’t been to Washington D.C. in forty years.

At the age of sixteen years, I clearly remember standing in the balcony of an empty Congressional Hall, lecturing myself, “Cheryl, pay attention to what government is doing and always vote for integrity. Because you would shrivel up and die if you had to sit in this walled room and do this job someone needs to do.”

The Delaware County democrats had a tough time getting a bus. So many people in the northeast wanted to go to D.C., that Delaware County wasn’t guaranteed a bus.

I made other plans to get to the march. My intent was to unite for the sake of uniting in what was a divisive campaign.

As a reporter, I’ve become more familiar with the ins and outs of politics. I’ve grown to appreciate and respect officials who work for the greater good. I’ve learned no one is perfect, that promises to the public are usually idealistic and unrealistic, but officials can change for the better. Because they can also change for the worse by imposing their personal agendas on the public, this is why America is already great. We the people can vote them out.

I think the last election brought to the people a sense of alarm and a poke to become more involved, rather than sit around and expect handouts or complain.

During the time between reading the News article and January 21, more than 370 sister marches were planned and staged around our nation for people who couldn’t make it to D.C. Marches were also hosted on 6 continents.

Delaware County locals organized and met with anyone who came on the Delhi Square.

At the time of this writing, I have yet to speak to locals. And I can only give a personal observation of the women led event in Washington D.C. It was impressive, well-organized, peaceful, offensive, and massive.WM from 9 up to 3rd st good small

In D.C., at the corner of C Street SW and 4th Avenue, I chatted with Lisa Christopher. She told me, “I’ve lived in Washington D.C. for thirty years. I walk this street to work every day. This is big. I haven’t seen close to this big of a crowd since President Obama’s first inauguration. This is big. I was here yesterday during President Trump’s inauguration and it was nothing like this. I had to come see it for myself.”

As read in the Los Angeles Times, the Washington D.C. Police reported 230 arrests on the day of the president’s inauguration. Whereas on January 21, there were no arrests as of 6 p.m.

The Women’s March pulled in an estimated 500,000 people.

There must be a dearth of pink yarn on the market today because a greater percentage of heads were covered in pink hats. They were ordered, knitted, and crocheted before coming.

The main stage was set up at 3rd Street and Independence Avenue at the end of the Washington Mall. Every 400’, large real-time screens and amplifiers were setup in the middle of Independence Street toward the Washington Monument, three-quarters mile away.

We were shoulder to shoulder. From building to building. Not only on Independence Ave. but also on three streets parallel to Independence and every side street in between. I didn’t climb trees, like many did, but I located myself in a landscaped area in front of the Energy Building.

Activist, Gloria Steinem, told the crowd, “You look great. I wish you could see yourselves. It’s like an ocean.”

Steinem thanked the “hardworking visionaries. The women who led this inclusive march, one of which gave birth when organizing.”marching to white house WM small

Mayor of Washington D.C., the Honorable Muriel Bowser, talked about female empowerment and D.C. statehood. She told the crowd that women officials are more wrongly criticized and when women are more harshly criticized for speaking up for equality, both women and men need to speak up for women.

Filmmaker, Michael Moore, encouraged the crowd to join organizations, environmental groups, and call congress to tell them our views. Moore said, “Women, run for office. Petition to run for anything from congress to the school board.”

Singer, Alicia Keys, recited Maya Angelou’s poem, “I Rise,” before telling the crowd to respect mother energy.

The list of speakers goes on. Much of the language mirrored the condemnatory, self-serving agenda rhetoric touted by President Trump. But the majority of us gave voice and presence to integrity and decency.

Speaking of decency. The day before the March, I was driving to Washington D.C. and ate lunch at a truck stop diner. From a television screen, I watched and listened to the Presidential inauguration. President Trump denounced the government status quo and addressed America with his hopes to change things.

Seated behind Trump was President Obama, the epitome of decency. I told myself never to forget it or take it for granted. The Obama’s decorum during their years in the White House mark civility and progress. Dignity is powerful and deserves honor.

The good in human nature can outweigh the bad. And yes, it is a struggle to keep good in the forefront.

At the March, the diversity of we the people was painfully evident as was our efforts to meet and get along was pleasantly evident. It’s a spiritual feat to respect diversity while yet admitting we all are the same, as was manifest when we all stood in line to use the outhouses.

Other actions tied us together. When the march began to the White House. It was orderly, respectful, and powerful. We made way for wheelchairs and strollers without hesitation. There were some crude signs and language, but it didn’t barb the true purpose to unite and fight as we the people for the higher good.

We followed instructions given earlier on the Women’s March on Washington official website. Dress warm, carry non-dangerous signs, purchase metro cards beforehand, and bring items in a clear bag. It was plain as day, looking through the clear bags that most of us survived on adrenaline, granola bars, oranges, and water that day. And we lucked out with warmish, non-rainy weather.

Korean War Memorial, a march also important

Korean War Memorial, a march also important

That Saturday, I was on site from 7 a.m. until 6 p.m. Before the Women’s March officially started, I walked The Mall and toured the Korean War Memorial, the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial, and the F.D. Roosevelt Memorial. It was a healthy reminder that we can’t expect equality and justice to be handed to us on a silver spoon. It’s a fight and more yet, it’s a fight we can’t stop fighting. And it’s only won as the good in humanity outweighs the bad.

Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial, representing a mental march that never ends

Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial, representing a mental march that never ends

A few favorite signs: Trump, start leading, stop tweeting. All elections matter, local, state, national. I’m with her (Statue of Liberty).

There were plenty of crude remarks on signs, but no crude behavior (that I witnessed). Baby strollers, wheelchairs, and in-fit fast walkers, moved accommodatingly.

Once the speakers winded down, the mass of human bodies began walking to the White House. During the hours required for the mass to move, chanting, or rather yelling, reverberated continuously. The chant I remember: What does democracy look like? This is what democracy looks like.

Quoting from science & religion to God, “Jesus was deserted by all but John and the brave women who refused to turn away from spiritual goodness. The real cross which Jesus endured on the hill of misery was the world’s hatred of Truth and Love.

“Persecution is common in a world that generally loves a lie more than truth. Love and spiritual healing are oppressed in a world where greed and betrayal have their way. Torment occurs in a world unthankful to Spirit.

“After the crucifixion, Jesus used the tomb as a refuge from the brutality of his enemies. He used it to solve the great problem of Being. His mental work opened a new era. Defended by spiritual laws, Jesus defied physical laws and mortality.

“We can sanctify the supremacy of divine Mind over human mind at all times.”

 

 

 

 

In thinking about attending the Women’s March on Washington this weekend, I mull over its platform and listen to other people’s thoughts on the topic. Attendees have a wide range of reasons for taking the time and trouble to unite to stand for human rights. A super wide range.

While mentally processing what I want to stand for and give voice to this Saturday, I realized it was super difficult to judge. Then I realized it was nearly impossible to judge because judging by appearance doesn’t get to the heart of the problem.

In a crowd of thousands fighting for abortion rights, I know the true fighters for abortion rights are the ones who don’t use abortion as a mode of birth control, but respect it for life.

On the other hand, the true pro-lifer is the pro-lifer who gives love and a home to unwanted children.

I’ve fostered children and there is nothing more wrenching than seeing a child who believes and was treated as though they were unwanted.

I’ve never had an abortion. I’ve only had sex with my one and only husband of 33 years. Abstinence and monogamy safeguard me from ever needing an abortion. However, I have a dear friend who has had two abortions and multiple boyfriends. Moreover she has saved my goody two-shoes ass multiple times with her street smarts.  It’s impossible to judge her as a good or bad person when viewing her through the eyes of love and gratitude.

Her promiscuity has simmered down since she’s met and hung with me. In other words, she doesn’t judge me as good or bad. We just love and continue to try to change for the better each day.

As for the Women’s March, I’m going to unite for the sake of uniting with we the people trying to change for the better. And, I already know that if I am going to stand to support those who are marginalized, I must also not marginalize anyone in the new administration. I can’t demonize the new administration. It’s not good or bad. Supreme good is God and is our source of thought and action.

From John 7:24, “Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment.”

Organizers of the January 21 Women’s March on Washington are working around the clock to assist thousands of people in their efforts to unit with equality and justice. For those who can’t meet at the nation’s capital the day after President-elect Trump’s inauguration, there are more than 150 coinciding marches planned around the nation.

The march was ignited by a grandmother in Hawaii last November. It quickly heated up an oven of activism and controversy. As with any event, it can evolve or devolve. So far, its bee evolving.

To avoid degeneration, we can understand that activism and controversy are part of healthy lives and relationships. They help us communicate our needs and differences. Faith and understanding help us grow in ways that benefit humanity, like dough growing into an airy, nutrient filled loaf of bread.

Even if the march appears to fail, we know that failure can lead to success. Novelist, J.K. Rowling was repeatedly rejected by publishers before Harry Potter books became widely-read.

The mission of the Women’s March reads on the official website as: “We stand together in solidarity with our partners and children for the protection of our rights, our safety, our health, and our families – recognizing that our vibrant and diverse communities are the strength of our country.”

The mission language is vague, but pointed, because currently the hot topics of politics, religion, and moral codes are being pushed and shoved in unfamiliar directions, making us uncomfortable.

Barna Group amassed a report on today’s uncomfortable social landscape in the book, Barna Trends 2017. It says, “Deep ideological tensions continue to divide our nation.”

Divisive issues include race, healthcare, the environment, abortion, and same-sex marriage. However, showing a hint of light, Barna reports, “Though large numbers of people of faith believe they are misunderstood, persecuted, and marginalized in today’s culture, most feel as though their faith is not only essential, but a force for good in today’s world.”

Faith and understanding bridge divisions.

Though we may not agree, we can understand that the Women’s March serves as means of educating ourselves. The march symbolizes awareness of “we the people” expecting fair representation.

More than safeguarding the marginalized, the march can outline a path to humanize the mean people who degrade those who are different from themselves. We were created to be humane, equal, and fair.

The march is not a coup d’état. It is not an excuse to be sensitive to or offended by opinions. It’s not a venue to make others feel unwelcome. The march can show respect for democracy.

Moreover, we can keep ourselves from veering off and following the self-defeating characters of anger or fear.

If things do get off track, Christ Jesus showed us that we can withdraw from circumstances and re-establish purpose and peace at any juncture in the march of life.

The Gospel John relays a story of Jesus feeding five-thousand hungry people. After tummies were satisfied, the people’s attitudes started getting off track. They lost focus of the spiritual purpose to unite and understand spirit. They wanted Jesus to do their work for them. What did Jesus do?

We read, “Perceiving then that they were about to come and take him by force to make him king, Jesus withdrew again to the mountain by himself.”

Vogue magazine noted that 176,000 people are planning to attend, per the event’s Facebook page.

Preparation for the march on Washington D.C. includes packing water, food, and handwarmers. It requires dressing in layers and for warmth. Preparation necessitates us to make sure our families and homes are cared for in our absence.

It also means withdrawing from the commotion to readdress and reaffirm our faith in an engaging spiritual plan and love.

 

 

 

 

I Timothy 2: 2-5, English Standard Version

First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God,