Thursday, July 22, 2010

The Ruby Dee Prayer

I wake up this morning feeling like I am made of badly-cobbled spare parts. It is the kind of morning that metaphorically misses a step on the staircase and flails gracelessly to regain balance. The kind of morning when unremembered dreams have clung to the edges of consciousness just out of the grasp of recall.

it's as if I had swallowed gravel along with my morning if emotions had lodged in my stomach, undigestable, a little gritty and sharp around the edges.

I try to reason it out. The first thing that comes to mind is that I was one of many who disappointed a new Native American friend by remaining silent when she commented on a recent injustice. Even though my subsequent apology is graciously accepted, my mind can't let it go. I keep thinking, "All it takes for evil to flourish is for good men to do nothing." Or good women. Doing nothing, facing nothing, is the great sin, in my estimation, of the middle class. Figuring all of it is someone else's problem is a universal form of denial. To watch the news, to read the newspaper is to drown in bad news. It's overwhelming.

So what do we do? We good men and women who are disturbed and saddened by injustice, racism, pollution, war? What do we do when we realize that just meditating on all of it, just holding positive thoughts is not enough. What do we do when we see, at the same time, angry measures create stronger polarities that drown the voice of reason and erase all hope of cooperation?

In a time of escalating tumult and chaos, from the economic to the environmental to political - what is the responsibility of "good" men and women? It's our world. And the scary thought occurs to me that if we don't participate in change, we deserve the lack of change we get.

So, when an opportunity arises to speak or act - next time I'll stand and be counted.

And I'll accept the gravelly discomfort of this morning with gratitude. It's an answer to the Ruby Dee prayer: "God, make me so uncomfortable that I will do the very thing I fear."