There's been a lot of talk about victimization in the news. The hush and scream tide of the conversation on rape is firmly in a season of screaming this week. On one hand, I'm glad this splash is being made. On the other hand, it is just horrifically sad. When the scream is over, the hush returns, and still, we'll be living in a culture that can't stand to look at its own state of violence long enough to create necessary change. Still, I am chronically hopeful. Maybe this time, I think again, a few more people will keep their eyes open. Surely, a few will. . . a few at a time until the critical mass is reached.
And it will be reached.
My most fierce desire is to keep my eyes planted firmly on the goal of healthy human interaction everywhere. Kindness, compassion, goodness. I question over an over, do we really need to see this again? Do we really need to look at our ugliness? Well, yes, I'm afraid so. Because right and wrong battle bitterly in the gray zone these days, even for things that should be obvious. Like rape. Like abuse. Like sexism in general.
My heart is crying out with everyone else this week, but being in this for the long haul means that patience has to live in the push. It's embodiment of new truths we're after, and that takes time. So every push has to be fueled by endurance. We can do that.
If you, like me, are looking for a space to safely place your anger, rage, disbelief, sadness , will you join me in spending just one day committed to a light filled life? I've been saying a written prayer every morning, lingering especially over this line, "Only that which is light shall go out from me." It's an acknowledgment that every action I take is a choice I'm making. Affirming in the morning that I'm choosing light today fuels my hearth, and I'm reminded all day long when the phrase pops into my head. I am angry, but I can choose kindness. I am disappointed, but I can choose forgiveness. I am enraged, but I can choose the long vision of hope.
This practice matters because when I consciously take responsibility for my every action and reaction, it affirms humanity's responsibility to chose goodness. We are not just feeble minded wrecks who don't know right from wrong. We do know it's right to be good to each other. We just have to be brave enough to admit it and hold ourselves accountable.
This isn't about trying to be perfect. And it isn't about stuffing or avoiding negative feelings, it's about allowing them to come and go without judgment, and without amplification. Feel the rage, the indignation, but focus on the solution. The solution is equality--so move through your life like you're equal in every way. The solution is kindness--so magnify kindness in your life. The solution is responsibility, so take responsibility for your choices. The solution is honoring worth--so treat everyone, including you, as though they are worthy of the highest blessings. Be so humane that people wonder what the heck is wrong with you. Then, when you screw up, work through forgiving yourself and proceed with grace as the soft wind at your back.
Look, I know this sounds simplistic, but this is the patience element. It's the steady on, long term, momentum building element of push and progress. Try it out for a few days and see if it changes the way you feel and think.
Anna Turner is the woman behind Little Hearth. She's an ordained interfaith minister, a writer, a believer in purposeful living and healing, a perpetual student, and a full time feminist mother.