Rep. John Lewis (1940-2020)
Rest with Honor
Rest in Peace
America can only be saved by those
Who have the dexterity
To bless while they bleed
Rev. Dr. Otis Moss III
In Gratitude for Rep. John Lewis
Like a slave hound
Tracking and attacking
Trailing trauma in its wake.
He blessed while he bled.
He blessed while he bled.
He fought the hound
And astonishingly, he forgave.
He always forgave.
c. Rita H Kowats 7-18-2020
Enrich yourself with Rev. Moss’s sermon about blessing while bleeding:
The Cross and the Lynching Tree:
A Requiem for Ahmad Arbery
Photo Credit: biography.com
This poem came from meditation at a time when conditions in our world weighed heavily on me. LOL! If only I had known the conditions we endure in this moment! It feels like the time to revisit the poem. We seek to tame the current of fear that rushes over imposing boulders springing up in our unconscious. So we flex our intellectual prowess in countless monologues across social media, in offices, living rooms and backyard gatherings. We seek to blame and fix. In our love for justice we can continue our self-assigned role as “The Great White Fixers,” or we can practice waiting, listening more intentionally for the words of the oppressed.
We must act for justice, AND there is this from James Baldwin:
The root of the black man’s hatred is rage,
and he does not so much hate the white man
as simply as wants them out of his way,
and, more than that,
out of his children’s way.
James Baldwin I Am Not Your Negro
I hear my rapid thought-fire
Ricochet off your heart,
Creating a wall of words to
Keep me safe.
Wait for the space
Between the thoughts
Between the words.
In the Space Between
c. Rita H Kowats 7-18-2013
Clay gods house clay souls
In heroes lauded on high.
Crumble and Scatter.
Photo Credit: CNN
Photo Credit: Facebook/Darnella Frazier/AFP via Getty Images in the NY Post
The year 2004 brought us an extraordinary film written and directed by Paul Haggis. Crash won three Academy Awards, Best Picture one of them. The film deals with every shade of the complex human experience of race in America. It is on my mind as we wrestle with the reality of George Floyd’s murder. The film calls me as a white person to see the truth straight on, ask the hard questions and work toward conversion and acts of justice. It calls every race to do that by holding a mirror to the consequences if we continue to ignore our inner work. Two scenes contain the seed of the whole film.
The first scene, “Pat Down by the Police” will ask you to be brave. It is not for the faint of heart, containing violent language and action toward a woman of color. Officer John Ryan (Matt Dillon) stops a car taking Hollywood director Cameron Thayer (Terrence Howard) and his wife Christine (Thandie Newton) home after an awards event. Its truth is stark and powerful.
The second scene, “Car Fire,” turns the previous scene upside down and we are forced to examine the meaning of trust and vulnerability.
I invite us to gather in living rooms as adults and older teens to view this film for the first time or again. Open a discussion of how it relates to George Floyd’s death and how we each carry the seeds of racism buried deep or edging to the surface. Spirituality is to be born in acts of justice. We must not hoard it for self-gazing.
Looking out my window beyond the splash of pink cherry blossoms, I see an unsheltered man in the little park on the trail organizing his treasured belongings for the day.
He has spread a blanket on the grass beside his commandeered shopping cart and organized his treasures into categories that make sense to him. He is retrieving them one by one and arranging them neatly in the cart.
My mind immediately jumps to an analysis of the injustices that may have catapulted the man into this situation and my heart weeps that he endures it as his well-being is threatened by the pandemic crisis. A new question replaces my grief and anxiety:
What is he teaching me? The lesson lives in this advice from the PBS drama, “Call the Midwives,” ‘You just have to keep on living until you are alive again.’ Keep on living each moment with integrity. Like my unsheltered teacher grabbing a little bit of control over his situation, I have to be creative and intentional in choosing control when it’s possible and faith when control evades me.
In what small ways can you choose to keep on living through this pandemic until you are alive again?
Photo credit: pexels.com
“False alarm, everybody…turns out the coronavirus only kills old people.” @ahleuwu
Laura Dorwart, Ph.D. on Twitter: “Trying to claim disabled people aren’t regularly and systemically devalued, disposed of and dehumanized is pretty tough given all the “don’t worry, Real People won’t die, only Non-People like old and disabled people will.”
Gov. Jay Inslee Wednesday 3-11 Seattle in response to a reporter’s question about the penalties for those who ignore social distancing mandates. “Penalty is you might be killing your grandad if you don’t do it.”
Elderly and disabled persons, among other groups, are often considered disposable. I do not refer to the medical community which has to make necessary decisions about who lives and who dies in extreme emergencies. I mean us. Let’s take the word “only” out of these discussions about covid-19. Instead, we could say, “primarily affects…”
The Common Good lurks
Under a subterfuge of denial:
Only the old die.
Only the disabled die.
Only the poor die.
Come back, Common Good.
Cast your expected aura
Of empathy-energy around us.
Redeem our frightened and frazzled spirits.
c. Rita H Kowats 3-13-2020