When Humans Are Just Too Awful For Words

It is not that I don’t think about evil—
I do.  Often.

It is more that I will not let it have the last word.

Horrible things happen
in every part of this world
every day, and
if I allowed myself to feel all the pain there is
I would be paralyzed
and that would do no one
any good
at all.

So I choose a different way.

I know I cannot solve everything—
save the children from sexual slavery
get clean water to every person
remove all the plastic from the oceans
and somehow get rid of this strutting emperor
who dismisses reports of his nakedness
as fake news
while inciting acts so heinous
that we will be ashamed for generations to come—
and it is not that I do not feel angry.

It is more that
I prefer to think about the way,
every spring, even in dry years,
the bright poppies bloom
on the green hills
under the blue sky,
and the shore birds fly up
in vast murmurations,
flashing first white and then gray
and then silver
in the shafts of sunlight
that pierce the soft spring clouds.

It is more that
I prefer to think about the way
the children are rising up in the streets
to remind their elders of their proper work
which is not to sit and wring our hands
and feel helpless,
but to act
and to create
new ways of doing everything.

Life is more powerful than evil
and we are part of it
and must act on our own behalf.

“No one has a right to sit down and feel hopeless,”
said Dorothy Day,
“There is too much work to do.”

Think of how much work it is
and how hard
for a baby bird to hatch from an egg;

Think of how much work it is
and how hard
for a tree to grow through a boulder;

And yet they do it all the time.

If the flowers can bloom
and the children can rise up

If the birds can hatch and then they can fly
and if trees can grow through stone

then, certainly—
we have the strength
to overcome evil.
To outgrow it,
to create something different
and more interesting.

Let us hatch
and let us fly
and let us grow
and let us bloom
and together let us
create something beautiful
and new.





Answer Yes

The waters are rising
Elders sitting in wheelchairs neck deep in water
And our own home-grown Himmler
And our most gifted two-spirit people
Kicked out.
The forces of evil are abroad in our land.

How did this happen?

Meanwhile in San Francisco
Clowns and artists and doctors and teachers
Transpeople and cis and gay and straight people
Parents and children and friends and relations
And the forces of evil departed from there.

How did this happen?

You know.  You know what to do now.
Listen with all your being.
Then when Life calls to you
Answer YES

and start moving.


Every day this week, the news has sent me reeling with shock.  The atrocities being committed by human beings upon other human beings, as well as upon other kinds of beings—including the very Earth—are so numerous and so terrible that I feel overwhelmed and unable to speak.  I have expected these things to come to pass and yet I am still shocked, and I am afraid of what will be next.

As a minister, I have sometimes felt that my job is to give people hope even when times are dark.  Sometimes that may be true.  Sometimes.  More often, my job is to be present to what is truly happening, and to name it as best I can.  And to be present with my people, and help them be present with each other.

Today, I can’t give you hope.  Today, I must be present to the grief and anger and pain that arise when the government of our own rich and powerful nation decides to begin bombing a country whose people are already suffering trauma beyond trauma. In that spirit, I offer you this prayer:

Spirit of Life,
Great immensity of love
in which we live and move
and have our being:

Sometimes there are no words
that can express the enormity
of our grief and outrage.
This is one of those times.
There is just so much.
So much that is evil and wrong.
So much that is cruel and hateful.
So much that is simply painful.

In times such as these, let us come together.
Let us sit in silence with candles lit.
Let our tears fall freely.
Let us not be afraid to break the silence with wails and sobs.
Let us hold each other while we weep.

This is how we make manifest
the love that will not let us go:
we hold on to one another.

For we can only get through this, together.
We can only change this, together.