This morning’s news was dark. More and more illness and death from a pandemic. More protests from non-violent and peace-seeking people bewildered and oppressed during their lifetime and representing the generations before them, blended with others who stand with and for them. More violent protests and violent response from those perhaps misguided, misjudged, and misled — who am I to say? I am not them, the protesters or the law enforcers. Angry weather breaking and entering the southern coast. And the stories of the rich and powerful having their way; or losing their way.
And then, fifth in line, the news of the celebration of the life of John Lewis and his final crossing of the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama. A metaphorical tapestry masterpiece. A bridge. As casket. A flag. A body of honor on its way to rest in the Nation’s capital, but first crossing the very place it was beaten, just under the name of a man who was a grand dragon of the Ku Klax Klan. A sweltering summer day in the south where the images of toil and suffering are not as distant as some would like to believe, but where the hope and promise John Lewis labored for still shines as brightly as the July sun.
It would be easy to resign the day to everything that is dark. Easy to let cynicism overcome idealism in these days and in these moments. Easy to blame or subscribe to conspiracy theories in lieu of truth because the truth is less animate. Easy to just turn it off and pivot to social media to escape with dances and pictures of cats and memes of all kinds that serve as teflon for the hard reality around us.
Today, I choose to focus on story #5. I choose to remember words that have the potential to unite humanity. A person who led with conviction and empathy and kindness, but did so with a strong will and a relentless quest of justice. I will bring my book with me to the woods and read some of my favorite passages from Walking With The Wind. I’ll be glad the rest of this day that despite the dark that so anxiously seeks to consume and divide and crush the spirit of good, we are…I am…seeking and appreciating what is beautiful in this life. My family. My friends. My love. My pursuits and passions. Nature. My opportunity, privilege, and burden to contribute to a better society and a better evolution of self.
“You are a light. You are the light. Never let anyone – any person or any force – dampen, dim or diminish your light. Study the path of others to make your way easier and more abundant.” ~ John Lewis