Friday, April 14, 2006

Finding the Center and Washing Some Feet

Time flies when you've managed to escape within yourself for a few weeks. Back on March 1st I wrote this post to signal the beginning of my Lenten journey and the ways that it affects my worldview.
My passion as a liberal is best expressed when I am true to my center. I am most alive when I reach out to others in tolerance and respect. My soul and spirit are most inflamed (in a good way) when I am fighting for those who are victims of injustices. That is why I have such a strong reaction to real and perceived threats to the marginalized.

The past few days have been very difficult for me as I've wrestled with the various emotions that I've allowed to consume me. I'm extremely glad that Lent has arrived, because it forces me to do some inner-searching for peace and listening to my heart. How can I expect to bring peace to the world, when I don't have it fully within me? That is the question that I will be pondering when I receive the ashes on my forehead today, as well as the journey for the next 40ish days.

I hope the outcome for me will mirror that of the Phoenix. That I will be able to sing its song of passion and renewal to the world, rising out of the ashes and signaling growth and new life.
Many things have changed since I wrote those words. The national debate has shifted from worldwide riots caused by cartoons depicting the Prophet Mohammed to xenophobic outrage aimed at the United Arab Emirates regarding port security; from the continuous drumbeats of war growing ever-closer with Iran to the millions of human beings marching peacefully in the streets to demand an end to hate-filled immigration reform policies.

My goal at the start of Lent was to seek growth and understanding in a world that is increasingly hostile towards non-violent forms of protest. I have carried the words of BooTribbers NorthDakotaDemocrat, BostonJoe and others with me as I've fasted and meditated on a way to do my part to end the global violence being unleashed in my name.

The ironic thing has been that the more thinking and internal processing I do, the more I've been motivated towards outward action, actually getting my butt away from the keyboard and into the streets. I've attended anti-war protests and immigrant rights marches since I started on this path, plus the Left Coast BT Meetup which was a major recharging of the battery.

Before, I would spend my time talking about doing those things, now I've actually been out in the crowds and experienced the power of the people in a way that gives me hope and resolve to persevere and help to grow the Movement. Early on, I wrote about the need to do what we could to advance Peace, according to our gifts and strengths. It was that point that I centered my meditation upon last night after the Holy Thursday Mass of the Lord's Supper, which signals the beginning of the Easter, or Paschal Triduum for the Catholic Church.

The Holy Thursday liturgy is not just about bread and wine, its message is also centered upon service towards others, specifically through the action of washing each others' feet. This gesture of humility and service towards fellow human beings motivates me as a Catholic Christian, not division and demonization of "otherness", which is regrettably being preached from far too many pulpits and platforms.

Washing a stranger's feet? Sure it's uncomfortable, and just a tad disgusting, but that dissonance is mirrored when we shake out of our comfort zones and put our lives and livelihood on the line for a common purpose not shared by the majority of American society. As I find myself reaching the center of the labyrinth, I know that there is alot of danger ahead, but I am also aware that I do not stand alone. The Revolution is here, my friends, the hard part is figuring out which role to play.

Namaste - I bow to the spirit within you

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