Last Friday Gay Marriage became the law of the land. Later that day, Barak Obama paused for thirteen seconds in the midst of his eulogy for the Reverend Clementa Pinckney and allowed the silence to sweep over us before he /began to sing Amazing Grace and 5000 mourners in the arena, and millions more watching on TV, sensed that this was the opening in the waves — that the world had turned and we were fortunate enough to have witnessed it..
What a journey its been. What grace, we’ve experienced by being here To go through the joy and the pain of it. And to have the chance to learn from this pain, and to honor it, instead of resisting and denying it, is far more than I expected or hoped for.
We’ve hit a more fearless, deliberate stride . There will be no turning back. The people in that arena cried out Hallelujah, and many of us cried out with them. And the tears flowed. And hope was reborn. For what we saw with our eyes was barely a sliver of what we were able to see with our hearts.
Hallelujah indeed. At this moment of radical grace,,nothing less will do.
Use the following image to welcome grace into your life, and to suspend your disbelief. It costs you nothing but your doubt. Then see what happens.
Close your eyes and imagine yourself floating face up in the water. Sense and feel how you are supported without any effort.
Breathe out and see yourself as a falcon, soaring high above the earth. Sense how the air and the wind hold you aloft without any effort.
Breathe out. See and sense yourself in free fall, floating into the Creator’s loving embrace. Know and live how you are surrounded and supported by the power and light of grace.
See how you feel. Then breathe out and open your eyes.
*Radical Grace is the name of the sterling documentary about three nuns who risk their place in the Catholic Church to follow the higher calling:of social justice. It was, produced by Susan Sarandon..
The Washington Post ran a piece yesterday informing us that the president’s popularity soared to a respectable 48%, this week, rebounding from the longest time underwater of any recent two time president.
Gallup’s editor-in-chief, quickly attributed the upswing to the overall holiday mentality. The reasons were as follows:
Increased support among Hispanic voters, pleased with Obama’s executive order on immigration.
Happiness concerning normalization of relations with Cuba.
The improved state of the economy.
And, of course, our innate American generosity during the holiday season — a “Christmas bump” so to speak, reflecting our exceptional charitable nature.
Joy to the world! There has been a sudden White-out, regarding the Black man in the White House. Thus, hate takes a holiday. Hooray for us. Let’s see how long it lasts. My optimistic heart says to the end of his term, at least. My logical mind says till next week if that.
Here’s an imagery exercise for opening our hearts during this season of light, peace and hope, no matter how brief it may be.
Lake in the Cloud
Close your eyes and breathe out through your mouth. See yourself climbing up high to a lake in the Cloud above you. Imagine reaching inside your chest, taking out your heart and cleansing it of all impurities in these cool, crystal clear waters. See these impurities swirling away and disappearing. Then take your heart and hold it up to the sun, seeing and feeling it infused with golden light.
Breathe out and carefully replace it in your chest and feel the change in its nature. From withholding to forgiving. From hate to kindness. From resentment to love. Then breathe out and open your eyes, knowing you have repaired yourself, and have helped to repair the world.
New Years eve was never one of my favorites. Perhaps it’s those memories of dates and days past when I expected so much and wound up with so little. The right place, but the wrong boy. The right boy but a lousy kisser. Worse even. A blind date. A beautiful dress worn to a terrible party where some dolt spilled his drink on the dress, ne’er to be worn again ─ where it was too close for comfort, too disappointing to do anything but ignore, then forget, as I stood in the freezing cold, waiting for a cab that refused to show up, or even worse, passed me by.
But there was one New Years eve that I gave a party and it all came together. When everyone showed up in formal dress. When everything clicked. When the snow started falling before midnight and we all went off to play and allowed it to anoint us with a moment of magic. When romance was in the air and in my heart and anything seemed possible. I tried to create a repeat performance the following year but it fell flat, as my neighbor’s husband decided to hit on me, the guests left their fun genes back home, and the snow refused to snow on cue.
New Years gets so much hype that it’s hard to live up to the foreplay.The peak moment comes and goes; there’s lots of noise and hoopla; the rockets rock; the bubbly bubbles; the kissers kiss; and the ball comes down in Times Square while the people from Queens, Staten Island, the Bronx, Indiana, Ohio, and Kansas, watch and cheer and stand there in the freezing cold insisting they’re having a fabulous time. Then poof, its over and done with. And everyone goes home. And the old year is out and the New Year is in. And we make our resolutions and get set to do it again in one form or another the following year. So what ‘s it all about Alfie?
On a scale of 1 to 10, (10 being the best,1 the worst) 2013 was a 2. Not quite a 1, which I reserve for events like September 11th. It earns this dubious honor via government shutdowns and mass shootings. Petty, self interested law-makers who refuse to tame gun rights or renew unemployment benefits. And right wing rants by Limbaugh, O’Reilly, Hannity, and the Palin woman, insisting that the poor give up more, and the rich give up nothing. That ObamaCare, is destroying American civilization and must be stopped at all costs.That Obama is a Kenyan who’s destroying American civilization.That Obama’s birth certificate is destroying American civilization. And that American civilization is exceptional and must be saved by getting rid of Obama and all things that bear his name, likeness and subversive socialist soul in any shape or form. Also, that Pope Francis, who may be way too cool a dude for a pope, is really a communist who threatens the pillars of Christianity, which they consistently fail to recognize is based on those awful “socialist” concepts about being thy brother’s keeper, especially if thy brother is poorer than you and less powerful.
It feels good to leave this past year behind although the Toronto mayor proved good for some laughs, and Chris Christy managed to show his true colors by closing down the access lanes to the GW Bridge as punishment for the mayor of Ft. Lee, New Jersey having failed to support his reelection campaign for governor. Speak of ego gone wilder than usual. Even for a politician.
Despite this undistinguished history I look forward to a better and different 2014. Yet we had best stay vigilant. As actor, producer, writer, and general all around bigger than life talent Harvey Fierstein says: “You can’t just ignore evil.”
The author Thomas Cahill, spoke with Bill Moyers on Moyer’s show this past week and set my priorities straight.
“There are only two things in this world,” Cahill said. “There’s cruelty and there’s kindness.”
For this year, just beginning, as yet unblemished by anything cruel or dark, I pray we choose kindness. Each of us. One by one. It may just be enough to put a protective circle of light, a blessed imprint of “good” on our lives and on our world.
Thomas Cahill is the author of “How the Irish Saved Civilization,” “Pope John XXIII, ” “Sailing the Wine-Dark Sea: Why the Greeks Matter,” and most recently “Heroes and Heretics.”