Sunday, August 4, 2019

Fierce Joy: A Nonviolent Form of Resistance

Like many of us who went to bed with the shooting of El Paso, Texas on our brains only to wake up to find that there was ANOTHER mass shooting in Dayton, Ohio--I, too, have been left gobsmacked by 2 mass shootings in one day--less than a day. Madness. I wonder if people felt this way in the late 60's/early 70's when there was so much violence: assassinations, bombings, etc.

I don't have any ideas of what one might do. I'm not sure I think that stricter gun control will help. We have fairly tough gun laws now.

Of course I think it all speaks to a deep not-wellness part of our society.  I think that technology leaves us isolated--and now, even worse, leaves us ANGRY and some of us don't have good ways to handle that. I don't really know how to deal with that as a society, just as much smaller communities. And fixing things in smaller communities, like our households or our schools, can't protect us from the ones who aren't interested in the fix. I can still be gunned down by an isolated crazy person who decides to shoot up a school or a church or a grocery store.

I think of various writers and theologians who have said that despair is the deadliest of the deadly sins--of course, many of them use different language, but it boils down to this idea. And a fierce commitment to joy is a way of beating back despair.

So, on to happier subjects.  Let me think of things that I can control, things that bring me joy.  The butterfly garden isn't as active as it once was. We haven't been able to see any more butterflies being born since that first week when the 36 caterpillars went into their chrysalises and then emerged. But that's O.K. For one thing, it's given the milkweed plants (the only food the caterpillars that become monarchs eat) a chance to recover. I go out to the plants several times a day, and so if nothing else, it's solace for me. And I do think it makes the concrete wasteland of a parking lot just a bit more beautiful--and there's a tiny green space, where before there wasn't.

It's the teeniest, tiniest way to save the planet, but it's one of the ways I can do it right now.

And it's a larger project even than taking care of the planet. It's a kind of self-care that seems increasingly important in these days. I've been taking joy in some cooking and of course, writing. I think it's important to find joy where we can--a different kind of resistance to the evil in the world.

So today, let's commit to whatever brings us fierce joy.  Let's use our fierce joy to combat the forces of hate and violence in the world.  Let's create a world that's so much more appealing than the one offered by those forces of hate and violence.


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