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bodies bent, clothes
damp with sweat and rain,
shadows dark on the wall.
Perhaps, they have come
a long way, seeking. Perhaps,
they still have far to go.
Inspired by Tomas Karkalas’ digital photo “pilgrims”
When we look critically at the many thoughts and feelings that fill our minds and hearts, we may come to the horrifying discovery that we often choose death instead of life, curse instead of blessing. Jealousy, envy, anger, resentment, greed, lust, vindictiveness, revenge, hatred … they all float in that large reservoir of our inner life. Often we take them for granted and allow them to be there and do their destructive work.
But God asks us to choose life and to choose blessing. This choice requires an immense inner discipline. It requires a great attentiveness to the death-forces within us and a great commitment to let the forces of life come to dominate our thoughts and feelings. We cannot always do this alone; often we need a caring guide or a loving community to support us. But it is important that we both make the inner effort and seek the support we need from others to help us choose life.
My dear friend Alice Parris has written an insightful essay concerning McCain’s choice of Sarah Palin as his running mate. Parris suggests something I hadn’t thought of. Read on.
“Cindy McCain should be shaking in her boots,” writes Parris. “She is getting older and although I am certain that Governor Sarah Palin is above such things, McCain may not be above an ‘affair of the heart.’ How else can you explain meeting someone one time before asking them to step into the most powerful position in the world, should your aged-heart stop beating? His first wife was a beauty queen, until tragedy struck her, then, he replaced her (while still married) with the then, young, heiress Cindy McCain. There is never a public display of sincere affection between these two. You could not wipe the ebullient smile off of McCain’s face, as the pretty Governor Palin stood at his side.”
Much is moved. Some is not. Troy’s apartment is in good order. The truck was returned on time, as promised. We are very tired people. And some dummy thought it was a good idea to have a NASCAR race that starts at 9:45 PM ET.
We’re helping Troy move today. Very busy. Few comments on friends’ blogs. Haven’t forgotten prayer requests.
—for Tony’s cousin,
who“ made it” out safely
Frustration as old as New Orleans,
where race was the unspoken issue, keeps
those who could not leave, after Katrina.
among the masses,
huddled in the mud and the urine,
the stench of death in torrid attics,
impatience and hunger, amid
the beatings and the suicides, (to say nothing of
the drownings, explosions, and fires). Too much water:
Humiliation floats in a woman’s hurried pee—
on the sidewalk, where she’s hidden only by a dying plant,
and a gentleman, whom she thinks to thank,
diverts his tired eyes, in the begging for
a bottle of water for one’s dying father, who is ninety,
only to be denied, lacking his physical presence,
and in the floods that glisten in the sun while being
transformed into sewer-water.
The poor left their everything at the levee,
that is, if they could leave, they left everything—
in the place where their ancestors were beaten,
after being “sold south,” then freed but given
nothing but Jim Crow. And now there’s nothing
but heat and shit here by the river’s mouth.
Somehow the hell goes on and on. (Hell
being three babies, dying in the Superdome.)
Did folks not deserve better than
the armed police, who waved guns and
herded them like slaves or black pigs? A bus
overturned on its tardy way to the Promised Land:
Redemption being, once again, denied. But somehow—
the folks who make it will somehow “make a life”:
find purgatory where there used to be hell.
But in the Big Easy (after many prayers),
they knew that life was good,
first published in Washing the Color of Water Golden: A Hurricane Katrina Anthology, The Sun Rising Poetry Press (March 2006)
See Clare L. Martin’s Katrina poem
“. . . the change we need doesn’t come from Washington. Change comes to Washington.” Barack Obama
read the entire speech
Forty-five years ago today Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke on the National mall in Washington. That day he changed the course of history. It was on August 28, 1963 that Dr. King eloquently delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech at the Lincoln Memorial during the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. It is a truly important day that will be remembered throughout history with Dr. King’s Memorial on the National Mall in Washington, DC.
“I say to you today, my friends, so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.
I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.'”
Just a few steps from where Dr. King gave that famous speech at the Lincoln Memorial is where the Memorial to honor the life and legacy of Dr. King will be built. The approved site creates a visual “line of leadership” from the Lincoln Memorial to the Jefferson Memorial.
On this 45th anniversary of the March on Washington, how will you remember Dr. King and the contributions he made to this great nation?
“Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksand of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God’s children,” declared Dr. King.
Representative John Lewis (D-GA), who also spoke at the March on Washington, will honor King tonight at the Democratic Convention in Denver.
“Contemplation is essentially a listening in silence, an expectancy… In other words, the true contemplative is not the one who prepares his mind for a particular message that he wants or expects to hear, but who remains empty because he knows that he can never expect or anticipate the world that will transform his darkness into light. He does not even anticipate a special kind of transformation. He does not demand light instead of darkness. He waits on the Word of God in silence, and when he is “answered,” it is not so much by a world that bursts into his silence. It is by his silence itself suddenly, inexplicably revealing itself to him as a word of great power, full of the voice of God.”
Thomas Merton. Contemplative Prayer. Garden City, NY: Doubleday & Company, 1969: 90