Patience Is a Faith-Based Initiative…

Here in the few remaining moments we have left,
just what do you propose we say in our defense?
That much was decided before any one of us were born?
That we were nothing more than objective observers to the madness
and throw up your hands in sadness?
“We’re powerless to change anything anyways.”
So just lay back upon your death bed
and gaze idiotically back up the chain of command
from which we receive our directives.
I guess it’s just common sense to preach
what ought to be but ensure it never is in the present tense
–Propagandhi, Last Will and Testament

There are nights where it feels right and true to approach change as a patient builder, with a plan of struggle that will take decades. I can sleep soundly and wake up motivated in the morning. But then there are nights like tonight. I can’t sit still, I can’t feel comfortable in my body thinking about the possibility that I might die without seeing some real measure of justice and equality in this world. It’s like the day after a sunburn, that unbearable itch after the pain…I can’t just go to bed with this feeling.

I talked to Glendi–who’s in Guatemala right now–on the phone this evening, and it looks like it’s time to send money again. Her dad is without pills, there is no food, her siblings’ school projects are lacking materials, and they are behind on paying for the new water project we just raised money for. Nunca alcanza, nuuuuunca alcanza. It’s never enough. And for my lovely, fierce Glendi, that means that she never gets peace…not even on the night that she herself almost died did she get peace.

And I can’t take this. Can’t we put the struggle on fast forward, skip to the part where we win? Can it really be that we’re still somewhere in the first act, and the disc keeps skipping backward? And so in the meantime does that mean that all these millions of families have to keep trying to play tricks on tragedy each day in order to see the next?

I have a hard time with militancy. I abhor violence and violent rhetoric. But there is no denying this sharp edge that comes out, like retracting claws, when nights like this come along.

I know the theory from many angles why guns and seizures of power will not bring the justice that we need. But that just means that our other ways–our building and constructing and fighting with moral force and creative nonviolence–had better be that much better…relentless…focused.

Atheist or not, tonight I cling to this faith with a desperation matching any churchgoer: that there will be some redemption for this pain that doesn’t leave them…that there will be peace within a hard-won justice for at least the young twins by the time they are grandparents. And instead of praying for it, I write for it here…with the feeling that it’s echoing futilely off into the silence just the same.

Currently Reading:

-Dispersing Power by Raul Zibechi