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The answer is to welcome

Storm clouds over granite bluff above leafy tree and basketball hope with barely visible circling birds of prey

Daily Note

Every day, a photograph, a poem. I’ve used this photograph before. It looks so ominous, those storm clouds and the tiny dots of circling birds of prey, probably turkey vultures riding the currents of the wind to find their prey or carrion.

But look closer— see all the foliage— green and fresh, not brown and dry all along the layers of the mostly granite bluff.

See the lovely tree’s branches reaching for the sun.

Notice the basketball hoop at lower right, ready for a game.

It’s a story in a picture— the story of life on this earth— where we all strive to live in happiness. That: pursuit of happiness.

Sad Times

Today we all grieve for the loss of life from guns. It just never seems to end— we never seem to be able to sit down and reach a reasonable solution for what we do as a nation on this and other issues.

We’ve all reached a point of anxiety, I think, where we are unsure how to effect change that ensures that each of us enjoys the rights of being human. You may hate others, but you may not create laws or situations that harm others. Live as you will— but the rest of us can live our lives too. However, a minority of bigots and racists seem to have taken over our country. So, we struggle. But then a tweet opened up another idea within the history of the unique problem the US has with guns.

The essay is Difficult Peace by Matthew Cheney. It’s long. It reaches the deep history of the issue in our country. And it brings us to a way to find a living peace. It reminded me, really, of what Jesus did in his life— live in compassion for all; invite all, and build a network of community, even with those who live differently. It’s not easy.

What do we live for, if it is not to make life less difficult to each other?

George Eliot

It isn’t easy, since our unique American history has created divisions.

Matthew Cheney asks:

“How do people for whom guns are a threat acknowledge their interconnection with people for whom guns are the tools that make them feel safe and empowered? How do people for whom guns are the tools of protection acknowledge their interconnection with people for whom guns are threats of death? Both sides feel threatened at an existential level by the other. That is the impasse.”

essay Difficult Peace by Matthew Cheney

I felt this impasse on November 9, 2016 the day after that person was elected. When I went to the store that day, I couldn’t look at people. I’m pretty sure most of the people where I live voted for that person I think is evil, disgusting, not fit to be president, and who cares only for himself. We were different now, separate from one another. It’s an impasse that is difficult to overcome.

I have admitted the good many of them do— in the community and with their neighbors. And that is the beginning of a difficult peace.

Cheney asks more:

“In a country with more guns than people, how might we work to create communities of resistance? How might we encourage and fortify the conditions that will heal us? How can we find the compassion to help reduce the suffering of the people who threaten us — because the threat they pose is a threat derived from their suffering, just as our own suffering makes us, whether we are aware of it or not, a threat to other people.”

essay Difficult Peace by Matthew Cheney

You see the division in this paragraph— the diversion and the impasse. I don’t own a gun. I never will. But a kind and giving former principal will adamantly state, “Go ahead. Try to take my guns from me.” We are a perceived threat to one another, despite all the other kind and loving ways we live together in this community. We’ve been deceived and manipulated by each side’s propaganda. We must do and be better. I hope we can come together in this issue as we do others for our neighborhoods, communities, and country.

And so, a response from Matthew Cheney

A sense of interconnectedness — what Thich Nhat Hanh calls interbeing — is the only thing that will save us. That was in many ways the one important take-away for me from my long essay on H.P. Lovecraft recently: to lessen hate, we must cultivate a sense of interconnection. Hatred is a separation of self from other. Hatred indulges in duality.”

We, the people outnumbered by our guns, must envision the peace that will allow more guns to remain metal and plastic, undangerous. We must embrace compassion and interconnection to make the leap into new ideas of safety for ourselves and for other people — people we do not know, people we may not agree with, people we may not even like. Our sense of safety is inextricable from theirs.

essay Difficult Peace by Matthew Cheney

“Remain metal and plastic, undangerous…new ideas for safety.” That seems reasonable, but it will be difficult because those who seek to divide us to conquer us as —a people of the United States willing to work together— will continue to do so, because divided they make money and they control us. But we are better than that. Maybe this time will be different. Maybe enough have died. Maybe we will see new ideas of safety for all of us.

And, as a final nudge towards working together as the communities we are, Matthew Cheney shares Angela Davis’s quote about just that, for new possibilities:

We fight the same battles over and over again. They are never won for eternity, but in the process of struggling together, in community, we learn how to glimpse new possibilities that otherwise never would have become apparent to us, and in the process we expand and enlarge our very notion of freedom.

Angela Y. Davis, “Difficult Dialogues” in The Meaning of Freedom

In community. In welcoming one another to a conversation, to building together. To struggle together with courtesy to make life work. For all of us. Right now, we divide, yet we can unite for building a better world for all of us. Because what we do affects the other. I just don’t know what happened to courtesy and welcoming. “Love thy neighbor.” I think we can do that.

I think we can start with courtesy. Will you join in? You’re welcome to join in to help build a better world together. Would you? I hope so. Please, and Thank you.

Poetry,

cuz we are all related, affected by one another.

We are all related.

basketball net waits for the swoosh
power lines string ease and connections
leaves of green
freshen the air
sooth with shade
circling birds of prey cling to the wind,
a rushing invisible current
carrying storm clouds gathering needed rains
that replenish spring growth
on the granite bluff of ancient history
which we will be
which we can choose
as one of community
accepting diversity
through the compassion
that fashions our affirmation
of each for the benefit of all
in the interbeingness of our ever flowing
and intermingled waves of living together freely.

Ubuntu

What do we live for, if it is not to make life less difficult to each other? George Eliot

Sheri Edwards
052822 149.365.22
Poetry/Photography
Storm clouds over granite bluff above leafy tree and basketball hope with barely visible circling birds of prey With poem in left margin
live_eliot
See on Flickr

1185 days of posts in a row

Sheri Edwards View All

Geeky Gramma ~~
Retired Middle School Language Arts/Media Teacher ~~
Writer and Thinker~~
Art from the Heart

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