It Was the Best of Times, It Was the Worst of Times…

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.…”

Charles Dickens’ historical novel, a Tale of Two Cities, centers on the years leading up to the French Revolution and culminates in the Jacobin Reign of Terror.  These words could just as easily be written about this current time.

Companies are now free to dump mining waste into waterways. Hundreds of Mexican children are still held in detention and may never be reunited with their parents. Mitch McConnell. Our nation has the largest federal debt in history. White Nationalism is on the rise. Betsy DeVos cut all funding to Special Olympics. The occupant. His cronies are crooked and conniving snakes. Trickle-down economics is once again being shown to victimize the poor. Rick Scott, who was at the helm when Columbia Healthcare perpetrated the largest fraud in Medicare history, is now overseeing healthcare reform. Hatred of immigrants is on the rise. Companies are drilling for oil in pristine areas where drilling should never happen. The bloviating buffoon occupant and the evil Senate majority leader continue to lead this country down a path of destruction to our republic.

On the other hand, there is a Pope who encourages us to build bridges instead of walls. A stranger smiled at me and said, “Good morning.”  I smiled at a stranger and said, “Good morning.” Bears are coming out of hibernation. The organization, Pearls, gives stuffed dolls to Alzheimer’s patients for comfort. Luxembourg just made all its public transportation free. “I love Lucy” reruns can still be found on TV. A mother wrote messages of encouragement on pencils and her son distributed them to his classmates. A fat robin red breast landed on the railing of our deck this morning. Adam Schiff presented his convictions about Russian collusion in the election and proved himself to be one politician who has the stones to do what is right. Craig and Danica Shoji retrofitted a trailer with showers to make bathing available to homeless people. Iceland elected an environmentalist as Prime Minister. Addiction rates, deaths and overdoses plummeted in Portugal after decriminalizing all drugs and making it a medical issue instead of a moral one. Norway banned deforestation. Women are speaking their truths in the face of growing sexism. Mary Oliver’s poetry is still fresh and nurturing. The freshmen class of legislators are speaking truth to power and making waves. An April shower watered the daffodils yesterday.   

Life is messy.  What we see depends on where we look. There is plenty to make us pessimistic about the present and the future.  There is plenty to make us joyful in the moment.  There is disillusionment enough to bring tears daily. There is beauty enough to balance the despair. There is darkness a-plenty in every corner of the world.  We all have sacred light within us to shine in this darkness.  The world gradually becomes a better place when the light that is in me greets the light that is in you. 

Continuing to resist and speak words of love in the midst of rising hate and intolerance depends on balance.  Resisting the constant pull of despair depends on feeding the voice that needs to be heard in these days. We cannot wait for the world to be transformed from the top down.  We begin to transform the world when we stop acting out of despair. Appreciating a sunrise, listening to the music we love, seeking out the laughter of children and feeling fabulously small next to the vastness of the ocean can feed our souls when we are sinking into discouragement. Doing whatever feeds our innermost being is crucial to staying in the resistance and not succumbing to exhaustion and despair. 

Love has the last word when love is the last word we speak.  Kindness is the final action when we are finally kind.  Justice is the defining action when we are just in our dealings.  Grace has the final word when grace is what we finally embody.  All of our actions are sacred when we realize that all our actions are sacred.   

“Here is the world.  Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don’t be afraid.”

Frederick Beuchner

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