He is Risen

Today is Easter for the Christians, Passover for the Jews, and the bridge makers of it all sometimes sigh:  What exactly does He is Risen truly mean?  Last night, I watched “Jesus Christ Superstar” again.  I’ve watched it ritually for close to forty years.  Ted Neeley is still playing the part of Jesus in his seventies, and, worldwide.  Where does he get his vitamins to move onward every year?  He imbues the kindness of Jesus as well as his human frustration as he plays that powerful role.  “Father forgive them for they know not what they do” takes on a deeper meaning.  Last night, I put on the captions and actually sang along. Why not?  But as I studied those captions, I realized dialog I had missed even with my repetitive viewing on Good Friday or Holy Saturday.   It became clear that often the lyrics were subtle Sometimes they were evocative:  “Jesus is cool”  voiced by the high Sanhedrin priest.

And then the dialogs of Jesus and Judas.  Clearly the love between the two of them was there as well as the agony.    Tim Rice, the lyricist, is my hero.  He brought the story to life, not just another repetition of something written so long ago.  It is timeless.

Well, here is where I’m going with this blog:  What if  He is Risen was reflected in all our thinking?  What if Redemption, ah the elusive word, was ACTIVE NOW.  Redeem? Rise? Crucifixion? Forgiveness. All the words repeated ritually just might take on a new meaning.

We are smack in the middle of global change whether we wish it or not.  This “Holy Week” I contemplated who actually cooked the Last Supper.  Now there’s a subtle veering to the side  I honestly thought:  Wow!  The girls are at the market buying the lamb today (Tuesday).  Wow! The girls are prepping the roast for cooking and doing side dishes.  I even asked a Jewish friend what kind of side dishes would be at the Last Supper?  Sure it appears humorous but in fact, it’s kind of nice to wonder.  We glean over so much in our rituals.  And then I went to “Who cleaned up the dishes?”  Women quietly did their thing then as we do now but often invisibly.

What I’m trying to say is this:  What if we just threw out all the ritual repetition and allowed ourselves to feel the Rising from a very personal space.  Maybe we could throw out bigotry, judgment and taking any sides and oh yes, TWEET kindness for all.  Sure I’m Polly Anna again but Polly also rises. Our planet, our people, our nations our states, our cities, our homes just might HEAL.

Embracing the Wind, from Musings on the Moor

For years I’ve avoided the wind, perhaps even feared it.  One night a few years back, it blew down an old tree with weakened roots.  Then the tree was catapulted across the cul de sac and smashed the window of my almost new Honda.  On further examination, it was actually caused by a mini tornado.  The tree uprooted, rose in the mix, took out the power line overhead and then headed to the Honda.

My ancient mother and I sat for four days without power.  Act of God? likely not but I nevertheless staged an hysterical crying jag and got the VP of the house insurance company to pay for the damage and best of all not cancel my policy.  So for years I considered the wind punitive.

Today as I made my way back from the fields, the wind came across the plain of newly harvested grass (ala my sixteen sheep).  I put my arms out and gazed at the brilliant sun, letting the force of nature wash me of so many hangers on:   the what ifs, the worries, anger, disappointment.  It was like a great hose washing me free of those lingering barnacles.  Yes, I am free. First round, first layer at least and I bless my friend the wind.

My Song for Mother Earth

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Can you hear my heart calling?

Remember, remember…

My dolphin, my whale, my glorious living sea, remember.

My lion, my tiger, my elephant and rhino, my tiny newborn lamb,

My mountains, my meadows, my deserts of golden sand,

My redwoods, my rainforests, my flower fields of wonder, remember.

They stand courageously beside you, remember.

Cuddle my little ones in your arms, 

Hold them now, as I, indeed, hold you.

Life upon me can be a gentle dance or a frightening Armageddon,

Choose the peace of nations, and choose to walk in peace upon Me.

I hold you all now in the Breath of a new Morn.  Remember, Remember!

All life upon Me stands at a hush now and also a prayer.

Remember.

 

Counting Sheep

my wooliesNo, I’m not suffering from insomnia.  It is a shepherdess I have become, don’t y know.  Well beyond my seventy years, I am caring for a wee mob of woolies in Scotland.  Counting them one by one becomes an exercise in repetition as I always miss one or two in the first round.  I’m told there are no predators to concern myself with but one could get tangled in the bushes and not be able to free himself all wool and thorn entwined.  So I get lucky this first afternoon alone.  All sixteen are present and accounted.  I scoop up large handfuls of hay into their trough while my lieges gaze on.  They seem to be as curious of me as I am of them. Tomorrow, I’ll create a stool so I can sit midst my flock and write.  After all, they’ve signed up to be my editors.

Back at the cottage, the mysterious barn cat stares through a dark closet. Big golden eyes welcome me back to an evening of peace.

 

April 4

Fifty years ago on this day, I was holding my first-born in my arms.  I had married an Aussie and custom had it that women had to lie in for ten days.  Wow, now all they get is a drink of juice and cookie and a bundle and hit the road.  Ten days was dignified.  My daughter had been born at 11PM on April 3.  I was still quite new to the business of mothering.  So here I was  ten thousand miles away from my own country, trying to figure out breast-feeding and the business of mothering while half way around the world, disaster struck again.  We didn’t have internet or tweets or any of the social media that gets instant gratification today.  And so, I heard about it from an Aussie nurse who came in to check on me and my new bundle.

I held my daughter close to my heart and wept.  We had already lost a president, and now a hero, Dr. Martin Luther King.  I remember how I felt such loss, such betrayal, such agony.   As a new mum, I wanted to promise my children peace and safety and maybe just a little bit of wonder. And here I was rocking and weeping and praying:  “Lord make it stop!”   The violence on the planet was escalating.  Viet Nam was on fire and the streets of my own country were ablaze with protests.  In the middle of it all, a courageous visionary was gunned down at a motel in Memphis.

Years later, that same daughter and I were on a pilgrimage across country.  We were driving a beaten up SUV loaded to the gills.  Our goal was to deliver her to a two year assignment in an all black high school in North Carolina.  She would teach for America before she set off for a PhD at Yale.  Wow, This same kid that I rocked so long ago was following the road of human rights.

So we made this road trip count.  We veered off at Memphis and went to the museum there.   The counter, the bus, the hangings, the marches, the black history that so few whites really knew was there before us.  The museum ended at the site of April 4, 1968 at the very motel where a hero died needlessly. The toussled bed covers, the dinner on the plate had been frozen in time.

I’ve never forgotten that moment.  I don’t think my daughter has either.  She went on to teach and fall in love with so many of her students who struggled the race card.  So many of those same students lost relatives to drive by shootings.

Now twenty-five years later, has anything changed?  Sure.  Our newborns are inheriting an even higher level of violence.  Safety is a treasured word that means very little on a day of automatic weapons and crazies and anger piled upon anger.  Have we learned nothing?

I’m in my seventies and I still won’t give up.  In MLK’s immortal words: “We as a people will get to the promised land.”   What did he see that night when he had been to the mountain top?  I can but wonder.

 

Echoes on the Wind

At a time when tweets and sound bytes could easily disengage another beautiful day on planet Earth, I pause.  I pause because I can.  I pause because I choose.  I pause because I am in awe.

I’m here to witness CHANGE.  An old Chinese warning is “May you live in interesting times”.  Yes, indeed.  Yesterday, I proudly witnessed our youth marching with determination, focus and courage.  They were not alone. Older people walked beside them and behind them and remained silent.

These kids nation-wide and world-wide were not only gutsy to organize such a grand scale protest; they named it a movement.  Yes!  It isn’t going away after fifteen minutes of fame.  These kids have a plan.  Rolling thunder? perhaps.  But planetary change requires sacrifice, sheer guts and fearlessness.  I saw all of these yesterday and each speaker brought a sense of dedication to standing for an end to gun violence.

There were many moments of heroic speeches that will impact history.  However, the most moving for me was the young girl who read out the names of those ‘sacrificed” in Florida and then stood in silence.  Silence, silence.  Can you hear it? Can you hear the echoes of “Enough is enough, Never Again, and lest we repeat ourselves, shouts from the rooftops, “Never Again!”  Perhaps “never again” needs to become a mantra that is repeated over and over and over and over and over and over.

Please tell me that we won’t slip back into cerebral “conversations” on boring panels in beige meeting rooms with politically correct old people.  The youth are on the move. Yes, indeed, and I’m marching with them in my heart, in my mind and with my pen.

Perhaps we need to take several hours to read the list of everyone killed due to gun violence and then stand in silence, in respect, in grief and in dedication.  Can you hear the echoes or will they be lost upon the wind?

 

We Stand, We March, We Listen, We Shout Enough is Enough

This is a day that the world just may shift on its axis.  It needs to do so.  The youth are marching against gun violence and all that goes with that term. Parents, grandparents, elders and friends are walking beside them, and those who can’t march are sitting and waiting for them to come by and holding this moment sacred and powerful.

We have lost too many innocents in the name of inaction, putting off legislation and, frankly, greed.  The second amendment nonsense is just that….nonsense.  It does not serve anyone in the twenty-first century to be imprisoned in old out dated laws.  And let’s be honest, semi automatic armory did not exist in the time of muskets.  Muskets were personal devices meant to protect an individual, not blow away a classroom.  OK, that’s rough to read but it is also true.  We have no more time to sit and discuss and have dreary legislative or political conversations.  We are losing our nation to nonsense and the inability to take action.

I’ve been silent over this situation since I wrote about Sandy Hook.  And what has been solved since that hideous event?  More kids lost.  More sophisticated repeat rifles and semi automatic guns and more devices to easily convert to that status are now eerily available..

So today, I stand with the courageous kids that are marching worldwide, nationwide, county-wide, city-wide. There should be a sit in on the White House Lawn and every legislative lawn in the nation.  We have all had enough.  Let us not go silent and switch our attention to nonsense.  It is time.

Shout from the rafters.  Shout from the cliffs. Shout from the graveyards. 

Enough is Enough.