I stepped from Plank to Plank
A slow and cautious way
The Stars about my Head I felt
About my feet the Sea.

I knew not but the next
Would be my final inch -
This gave me that precarious Gait
Some call Experience.

Emily Dickinson, c. 1864

Sunday, May 31, 2020


While I watered my front porch flowers with a light spray of mist, I accidentally disturbed this spider's home. But then the light caught the web and I grabbed my phone to capture the beauty of the sparkling spiderweb. She was not happy with my disturbance,but managed to straighten things out quickly. I left her alone after that.

The metaphor of being ensnared in a trap has been on my mind lately. Trapped inside my home, unable to sit in a coffee shop and enjoy a leisurely cup of coffee, unable to visit my still-shuttered gym, and unable to take care of my shaggy hair. The pandemic has left me feeling trapped.

And then the horrific killing of another black man at the hands of the police has exploded our cities into devastating unrest in city after city in our country. People who have also been locked in their homes came out to join protests against the injustice of yet another senseless killing. I watched the video that was shown over and over of the murder, it was impossible to avoid it, and the outcry that has followed has made me afraid of what is yet to come. More than 25 large cities imposed curfews last night (Saturday) and most protestors ignored them. Violence broke out and looters and haters took center stage.

For solace this morning, I looked at a collection of inspiring quotes from Martin Luther King. So many of them spoke to this moment, he who was murdered in 1968 but still lives on in the hearts and minds of those of us who will never forget, more than fifty years later. I found this page of 123 of the Most Powerful Martin Luther King Jr Quotes Ever.
Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. Hate multiplies hate, violence multiplies violence, and toughness multiplies toughness in a descending spiral of destruction. 
Never, never be afraid to do what’s right, especially if the well-being of a person or animal is at stake. Society’s punishments are small compared to the wounds we inflict on our soul when we look the other way.
He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it. He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it.
The more there are riots, the more repressive action will take place, and the more we face the danger of a right-wing takeover and eventually a fascist society.
A riot is the language of the unheard. 
Okay, I'll stop there. I could go on and on, but these quotes that I share with you have given me plenty to ponder. Plenty for me to think about how to respond during this tumultuous time in the history of the world. I know for sure that the world I knew in February will not return when all this is over.

I wish there was some way I could stop the rioting while still hoping for more peaceful protests. I wish there was not such incredible inequality in the country I love so much. Most of the people who have lost their jobs, 40 million of them, were held by people who have lost hope and let themselves be filled with rage at the injustice of it all. I wish I could do something about it.

The only thing I have at my disposal are my words, right here and now. That, and prayer. I have never felt more need than I do right now to prayerfully ask for the words that will make a difference in at least one life today: my own.

I have lived for a long time and have witnessed some terrible times in the past. We made it through them, not unchanged, but then again, not changed necessarily for the better. Some things are better, like my ability to be connected to all my dear friends in an instant. But what good does that do when I have no solutions to anything, especially the anguish I feel in my heart?

If I were an amanuensis for God's word right now, what would spill out and cover the page? If only I could remove my own fear and doubt, something would emerge, but I am not clear enough or humble enough to find out. Maybe it will come to me in a dream, or maybe just the right words will find their way to me somehow. I am open to it, and my prayer is that you, my dear reader, might be able to help point me towards the direction of healing. After all, we are all in this together, and if any one of us can reach high enough, it can bring healing to the rest.

Going back to the picture at the beginning, I'm like that spider: and what I'd like to ensnare in my web is peace and love. If I spread out my web into the ether of life, what will I catch? One think I know for sure that I will be ensnared in that web is connection. Connection to all of you, all who are like me, unsure of the future but hoping to catch the peace that surpasses all understanding.

And now it's time for me to begin my daily activities. Whatever is coming towards me, I will face it with equanimity, with a little help from my friends. My dear partner sleeps next to me, and I am ready to rise up from my bed (I no longer leap out of it like I did in my youth) and smile at the bright new day to come. Please stay safe and share some love today.


Linda Reeder said...

I don't have the words either. I feel trapped, not so much by staying at home, but by my body, which is hurting very much this morning, so much that it is numbing the pain in my spirit that I share with so many over the racially motivated killings and the chaos created by those whose goal is not love and support, but violence and chaos.
It's hard to feel positive right now, but I'll go take a hot shower now and work on myself. I can't help others if I can't fix myself.

ApacheDug said...

Djan, for the metaphorical hand-wringing here, I'm finding your honest words comforting this morning. Last night I sat in my (darkened) apartment watching the rioting in downtown Pittsburgh on my local news in disbelief... I got up & looked out my big window and noticed most of the houses up & down my street were dark as well. Thanks for sharing the Martin Luther King quotes, and I loved that glistening cobweb photo. Let's hope & pray we do come out the better for this.

Rian said...

After reading your post, all I could think of is this prayer:

May we be at Peace
May our hearts remain open
May we awaken to the light of our own true nature
May we be healed
May we be a source of healing for all beings...

gigi-hawaii said...

So glad you posted those homilies by Martin Luther King, Jr. They resonate with me. Only love can conquer hatred. So true.

Linda Reeder said...

I'm back, and feeling better. I'm not sure I'm ready to take on the world yet, but the Sunday paper awaits. I'll skip the Sunday morning news/talk shows.
I am sending afternoon sunshine your way. The rain hasn't stopped here yet, but it will.

Far Side of Fifty said...

Just my opinion being from Minnesota...the Mayor of Minneapolis is a coward and so is the Governor neither did their job to protect the city, they dropped the ball...what horror for everyone...first the death of George Floyd should have never happened but it did so peaceful protests were happening that turned violent now Minneapolis is really suffering business owners and all the people that were non violent are cleaning up the city and it all makes me sick. It took the politicians who are both Democrats by the way four days to do something. It is okay to protest I get that but when you loot and burn down buildings then it has to be stopped. Just think of how the virus was spread this week :(

Marie Smith said...

Hasn’t 2020 been a banner year? However, if it forces us to come to grips with racism in this world, it will be worth it.

Elephant's Child said...

Sadly, sometimes anxiety/fear/anger are entirely rational responses.
Thank you so much for the uplifting and grounding quotes from a very wise man.
I hope to be part of the solution rather than the problem. Always. A work in progress.

Arkansas Patti said...

We are truly in frightening times when righteous anger sometimes hurts those seeking the true path to equality the most. I do hope they resort to peaceful protesting but understand the frustration when that has just not worked in the past. We need change--real change not just lip service. I am praying hard.

Gigi said...

Thank you for sharing Dr. King's words today - even now, all these years later, they are still relevant. My heart has been so very heavy - it seems to me that racism should be a thing of the past and it hurts to realize that it is still so prevalent today. I've been trying to put all of my emotion into words and can't find them. So I will pray. And love. And spread kindness whenever/however I can. Sending love, my friend.

The Furry Gnome said...

Sadly I share your fears and feel no thoughts toward a solution.

Red said...

I like the metaphor you use about the spider. Yes we are trapped in many ways. Someone used the term 'Long hot summer." There are a number of things going on to make a hot summer. We all need to reach out and support those who are marginalized. I think you already have this figured out. You're ahead of the curve. Others need to get with you.

Anvilcloud said...

These are times that upset me greatly, and I am not talking so much about the pandemic but the racial stuff.

But you've given me a new word -- amanuensis. Of course, like everything else these days, I shall forget it forthwith.

Rita said...

I feel like I have time traveled back to the 60s. Maybe we will learn something this time. The words of Martin Luther King were perfect then and now. There's a big difference between peaceful protests and riots. Both were going on...are still going on. Like King--I am for peaceful protests.

Linda Myers said...

At this moment, I am focused on the warmth of the cat on my lap. About everything else going on these days, I am pretty sure I am powerless.

Galen Pearl said...

I was a high school student in Memphis the day Martin Luther King Jr was killed in my city. Like you, I lived through times of turmoil in this country. And here we are again. Your words are healing and eloquent. Thank you.

Heidrun Khokhar, KleinsteMotte said...

THW world has totally changed as this is a global issue. So is fascism. That the two have now become a parallel issue may be one way humans will realize we are all humans. And in a not so long future robots may be doing many more jobs. As humans we need to find ways to move into a whole new world. A rocket headed up into space on Saturdayand it was for me ab exciting moment. Stay safe.