Archive

Posts Tagged ‘hope’

AN ENTREATY: sing loud for love & life

Hey, lovely friends,

Barbara Lee was the only U.S. representative who voted against a vague Authorization for Use of Military Force immediately following the 9/11/01 attacks.

Lee rightly feared that a “rush to launch precipitous military counterattacks runs too great a risk that more innocent men, women, children will be killed.” The same AUMF, together with the 2002 one targeted specifically at Iraq, has been used for fifteen years and supported U.S. bombing of seven countries to date. With virtually no constraints on how the 2001 AUMF may be used, there’s a very real possibility it will be used to kill and upend more lives than the millions it already has.

Catastrophically, in addition to itself bombing these countries, the U.S. has partnered with human rights travesty Saudi Arabia (to start) to bomb many of them. The Obama administration alone has sold $115 billion in weapons to Saudi Arabia, despite that the Secretary of State is supposed to consider human rights records when weighing whether or not to approve arms sales to any given country.

One-third of Saudi Arabia’s air strike targets in Yemen have been non-military, with approximately 4,000 civilians killed and infrastructure necessary to deliver humanitarian aid crushed. So many Yemeni people have died that the Red Cross has begun donating morgues to hospitals.

The 2001 AUMF authorized the president to “use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001.” Given that Saudi Arabia was home to three-quarters of those who attacked the U.S. on 9/11/01, I believe it is fair to say the AUMF has (1) given enormous, unchecked power to the executive branch while (2) straining credulity that the AUMF continues to be used–if, indeed, it ever was–for its stated purpose.

(If you wondered why President Obama would vow to veto a bill allowing 9/11 victims to Saudi Arabia, it is arguably this: that to do so would prove fatal to a strategic U.S. alliance, no matter how destructive that alliance.)

Please, please consider signing Lee’s petition to revoke both AUMFs, and talking to those you love about doing the same. I know it can feel like there’s little we as individual citizens can do in the face of such enormous tragedy, but our voices matter … never more than when they join together in a resounding chorus of love.

The lives of innocent, impoverished men, women, and children on the other side of the world depend upon your love, and your loving use of your voice.

I beg you to please, please use that voice to call for an end this senseless violence.

With love & thanks,
Deb

Note, while I will continue using my politics blog
to address most political topics, I perceive this
as more “life-or-death” than just “politics.”

This was originally an email to friends.

The grace and joy of “for”

I’ve had such a monumental heart-shift recently, it may well take me weeks or months to articulate it.

It will almost certainly take thousands of words. At its core is for: the difference between being for and against, but it runs much deeper than that handful of words conveys.

What a felon looks like. Also, love.

What a felon looks like. Also, love.

A piece of this shift showed up in conversation I had with my friend Ra a couple of weeks ago. I told her how I’d written a post called “I believe you” while she was in prison. I mused aloud about how one piece of that post was difficult for some to grok: the piece where I suggested I was for her, not against him, in sex assault cases. As I wrote then,

It’s not my job to adjudicate. In any case, I’m not interested in weighing his guilt, threatening or cursing him. That doesn’t change anything–not for the better, anyway.

In fact, I believe focusing so keenly on all the details of any one him, speculating about him or castigating him hurts not only you but all of us. We blind ourselves to the whole picture because it’s easier to speculate on one lurid detail: one him. We’re so busy ogling the accident on the roadside, we don’t see the crumbling bridge ahead of us. Nothing gets changed that way because we can’t change something that’s already happened.

I’d like us to stop talking about any one him and start talking instead about how to help you. How to lift you up in healing. How to let you know we are here for you, listening to you, believing you.

I’d rather focus on building than destroying.

I now believe those words a million times more intensely than when I wrote them last January. A trillion times more, even, or to the infinity-eth power.

I also understand that there are a billion more ways to destroy than I then understood, and that I perpetrate some of them daily.

Listening to Ra speak of prison and parole, I am overwhelmed by the tragedy of all the lives destroyed by the United States prison system. Less and less do I believe we send people to prison for reform, or allow those freed from the physical walls of prison to ever be free.

Mackorah Debenzie 2011

Mackorah Debenzie 2011

Somewhere in my heart of hearts, some part of me used to believe people who went to prison deserved whatever they got, for however long they got it. Then, on a long car trip with my beloved Mackenzie some years ago, she waxed eloquent about how dehumanizing that was. I still dehumanized others after that conversation, but Mackenzie’s insights started me down the path of questioning some of my basest assumptions. (Thanks, Mackenzie. ILU.)

With Ra and Mackenzie’s words in my heart, a quote by Ellen Degeneres then made my heart sink as I thought, “That was me.”

So when I read Ra’s most recent post this morning, I cried. Of course I did. It’s the epitome of what I’m struggling to articulate; it’s for, through and through.

Ra is not against Ellen, but for love. For hope. For books, and literacy. For seeing the inhumanity with which we treat prisoners, whether they are within or outside of prison, and for accepting the humanity of individual prisoners, seeing each as herself instead of one indistinguishable piece of an identical whole. For compassion. For love. For for.

I am for all of these things, and for Ra, and for you. I am for you reading Ra’s post and spending some time today contemplating and then basking in the sweetness of sitting with all the many things you’re for.

Prescribing Joy: your joy sought!

prescribing joy

A couple days ago, I wrote about a doctor who prescribed me joy.

I explained how this prescription changed how I feel about “just hanging on”:

Beyond that, please don’t just hang on.

Reach toward joyful things.

Seek out and savor that which brings you closer to joy.

Prescribe yourself joy, and enjoy its sweet taste on your tongue at least daily.

I asked you to stay tuned for a guest post request. This post is that request.

I’d like you to sing out what brings you joy. You can do this by actual song, or by prose, poem, collage, interpretive dance, vlog, or whatever other mean feels right and joyous to you. Read more…

Categories: Family, Love Tags: , , , ,

opened by your love

Different, but united

oh,
my sweet boys,
so tiny and enormous
at two and six years of age,

i loved you
across the universe
from the moment
i knew you existed,
without
measure,
restraint,
or need
for return

i now love you
bigger than the universe
when i see the smallness
of your physical sizes
and marvel how little that
has to do with the scale
of your love

i will love you
wider than the universe
whether you build skyscrapers
or flip burgers, whether you
build orphanages or
marvelous
daydreams,
whether you
wear dresses
or combat boots
(or both), and
whether you love
women or men (or both),
but pray above all
that you
will know,
and show,
love
abundant Read more…

Beyond where stars twinkle

I held
my sister’s hand
on her sofa in Portland
(and also Metropolis)
as we finished watching
The Man of Steel

I thought how
wondrous it is how
we humans create
such marvelous
fictional problems,
and (often)
even
better
solutions

Where filmmakers
and authors fail,
others offer
alternatives,
numbering
dozens,
hundreds,
and even thousands

How hopeful!

We humans
are good at
creating problems
but we are also
innovative
about resolving them,
politics usually excluded Read more…

Running toward them

Today I wore
a silly pair of sneakers
to work, having donated
a dollar to charity
for the privilege

image

I didn’t think
much of the shoes
when I laced them up
this morning

Nor did I wonder
why I have been
itching to run
after not
wanting
to run
for
months

Then
an office friend
and I got to talking
about them, and I
discovered
my recent
urge to run
isn’t really
arbitrary

My mom
died of cancer
six years ago
tomorrow

Six months
after she died,
my siblings and I
ran a half marathon
for a cancer charity
in her memory

I wore
toe sneakers then,
at least until I got
so fed up with their
sogginess in the
Portland rain
that I
took them off
and ran the last
seven miles or so
barefoot

image

(So.
Much.
Better.)

I ran

We ran

We transformed
our love and
our grief
into movement;
into hope;
into a chance
for change

Our mom
was still gone
when we finished
running, but we
were still there:
in the struggle,
in the sogginess,
in the victory of
finishing
inspired
by love

And so,
this afternoon,
as I look at these
silly sneakers,
I see
I want
to run
because
running is,
for me,
a celebration
of life,
of hope,
of love,
of Mom

And I see
that I want
you to run
not only peek
in the direction
of your dreams,
thinking not
of how far
away they
appear
right
now
but
of
how
much
closer
they will be
if only you
will start
running
toward
them

Categories: Death, Grief, Love Tags: , , , , ,

Maybe, just maybe, tomorrow will be different

As Christmas nears, many strangers find my blog searching for “first christmas without mom.” This post leads them here. This later post probably contributes to the traffic.

Today I’m home with a sick toddler. He’s alternately screaming and babbling. Some moments he wants my comfort; others he wants to be left completely alone. In his leave-alone moments, I’m tidying up what little I can as I listen to him babble. More and more of his words makes sense in combination.

“No more outside!” he exclaimed as we walked back inside earlier. “Is a nose,” he said sagely while pointing at Black Widow’s nose on a gift bag.

As I listen to him, I think of my mom. She must have had like mornings with me when I was little.

I think of my godmother, Anna, who snuggled with both my sons while we were in Oregon last weekend. Read more…

%d bloggers like this: