Nothing justifies saying silent when I see injustice being done.

These words came to me on the eve of the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King. Seems like something he would have gotten behind. A come clean here: there were times in my life when I didn’t voice my opinion for fear of rocking the boat, making waves, alienating or otherwise risking rejection or pushback from people whose approval I sought.  Not my proudest moments when I look back; cringe-worthy, in fact. These days, almost nothing prevents me from expressing opinions; filters still intact, and avoiding name calling when I disagree with what others express on social media about the current political climate. My Facebook page is generally a place of positivity with words and images of inspiration. People can visit to share their thoughts and feelings as well; a safe haven. On rare occasions, over-zealous folks on all sides of the political spectrum will express their outrage, using language that flies in the face of my peacenik sensibilities. Can I understand their vehemence? Of course. Many’s the time I have wanted to spew impulsively but held back. Instead, I have thought it through and asked myself what outcome I wanted to see. Mostly, it was for the purpose of changing someone’s perspective. Did it work?  I may never know.

Yesterday I was visiting the page of a family member and read in horror, some of the responses to something she posted. I attempted to insert a sense of logic and pacifism that many were simply not having as they lambasted the attempts and dismissed them as fake news, liberal nonsense. (I am being polite here.)

I made the mistake of visiting the page of one of the posters, who is an avid supporter of the current occupant of the Oval Office and found a meme that compared the situation of children who are considered ‘Dreamers’ to be the same as parents who snuck their kids into Disneyland and expected them to be able to stay and enjoy the park for free. How cruel can people be?  Even if someone disagrees with policies rendered by previous administrations, can they not consider the implications of attempts to undermine simply for (according to those in government) the purpose of un-doing?

After exposing myself to a bit more of this; and I still wonder why…perhaps it is like an accident scene you can’t turn away from, I retreated back to my “nice sunshiny page.” There was a palpable sense of relief. It also has me questioning how judgmental I truly am. I can’t fathom how people who claim to be loving, can hate those of a different skin tone, culture, religion, gender or sexual orientation. I don’t hate or name call. My parents taught me better than that. Still not sure how to bridge the chasm between what I see and feel and what I can do to effect positive change. Progress feels slow, especially in the face of dire consequences from inaction. I can’t and won’t stand by and watch the world experience devastation. As a spiritual being who was called to be an Interfaith Minister, I feel called to make this part of my ministry. Granted the gift of wordsmithing, I invite readers to peace and reconciliation, but also walking in the steps of MLK and Gandhi, to engaged spirituality. I will be putting my marching feet to good use this coming weekend at two marches- one in Philadelphia and the other in my hometown of Doylestown, PA. Following my experience at last year’s march, I penned this for the Bliss Blog.

“I am learning to accept the current reality while working to change what I can. I know that this event today was not a one and done deal. It needs to be a case of being vigilant and outspoken. It feels like a holy obligation.

I made an observation toward the end of the rally that I want to share with you. It was overcast and foggy all day. The mist hovered above the buildings. It mirrored what I had been feeling since the election; a looming and ominous presence. Although the sun didn’t peek out all day, it felt like the collective energy of those gathered kept the fog aloft.”

Please grant me the serenity and the filters to prevent me from REACTING to posts justifying, excusing, or otherwise deflecting about the words and actions of the current occupant of the Oval Office. Many’s the time, I thought, I need to say something and then ask myself if it is worth the aggravation of going head to head with someone who is not likely to change their mind. Instead, I do my best to go heart to heart and attempt to understand where they may be coming from. It doesn’t mean I accept their beliefs as my own. It means that if I lived their life and had their experience, I might feel the same way and say the same things. There are certainly some that I RESPOND to as best I can in measured tones, asking them how they came to hold the beliefs and values they do. That feels better in my body. It can be exhausting to be in hypervigilance mode.


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