A friend and I were talking politics. Because even though just about every conversation with almost everyone in my life these days begins with “Let’s not talk about politics,” inevitably we can’t help ourselves and fall headfirst into it anyway.
(Some people may be of the mind that ministers and spiritual organizations should “stay out” of politics. That’s an interesting position and I invite anyone who holds it to share this idea with the evangelical movement. Also, I am very clear that health care, the environment, human rights, and our common good never needed to be partisan issues and it is those who are selling the soul of our nation for their own greedy authoritarian grabs who have politicized such matters. I truly wish that decency, fairness, and facts weren’t polarizing political concepts, but sadly they are. So here we are.)
Anyway, during this conversation with my friend, I declared that we are going to achieve a landslide victory for equality, justice, progress, freedom, truth, compassion, and kindness this November. Let me say it again:
I DECLARE A LANDSLIDE VICTORY FOR EQUALITY, JUSTICE, PROGRESS, FREEDOM, TRUTH, COMPASSION, AND KINDNESS!
I’m not always able to muster a whole lot of confidence for this assertion — some days are much harder than others — but I keep affirming it anyway with whatever I’ve got.
Sometimes, this becomes a bone of contention with my friends and family. They argue with me. The arguments usually fall into these categories:
- You’re ignoring the facts of how irredeemably shitty things are. If you’re not outraged you’re not paying attention!
- Your optimism sounds pretty, but we should probably steel ourselves for disappointment.
- We can’t assume anything. There are so many variables.
- The stakes are far too high for complacency.
My loved ones are absolutely right. I argue the same points with myself, over and over in my own head until I feel like I’m losing my mind.
But here’s my thing — proclaiming today a Landslide in November isn’t meant as a conclusion, but rather as an opening. We’re just getting started. This is the very beginning of everything yet to be. And each of us is responsible for creating what comes next. We choose our participation in it and with it. My declaration is my own first step toward the future into which I want to live.
Here’s how I try to answer the above arguments (with myself and others):
- I’m not ignoring anything. I’m pretty well-informed and sometimes my awareness of the world and its troubles is excruciating. But I’ve tried perpetual outrage as a response to it all, and I have found this to be unsustainable and ultimately self-defeating. What I want, what I need, is a way to both pay attention and at the same time to remain faithful, hopeful, and committed.
- No. I’m not going to preemptively lower my expectations to soften the blow of potential disappointment later. That feels like a forfeit. No doubt, we all will face many more defeats as we move forward, but to live in anticipatory misery seems like a sure way to be unhappy now as well as when we actually have to deal with setbacks and disheartening outcomes.
- I am not assuming anything. Indeed, there are a trillion variables, there always are. The future is uncertain, no matter what we do. But I believe that right now we are forging our future — with everything that we do, say, and stand for — so let’s start with an empowering and inspiring vision, shall we?
- Agreed! Our very lives depend on what we do now, so let’s not be complacent. Proclaiming a bright future isn’t about giving myself an excuse to sit on my ass for the rest of my life. On the contrary, it gives me a reason to get out of bed in the morning.
The efficacy of our prayers is 99% about empowering ourselves. Our declarations, commitments, and convictions transform us and transform the world in utterly straightforward, practical, reasonable ways — simply by endowing us with the gumption and guts to participate.
I don’t want to diminish the metaphysical sparkle of it, if that’s what lights you up — the law of attraction and all that. But if we’re relating to prayer like it’s about fixing external situations and circumstances to conform to our wishes and desires, then we’re missing out on the real juice.
The primary and ultimate purpose of prayer-declaration-affirmation-belief is the reclamation of our own creative agency, authority, and responsibility.
Allow me to paraphrase St. Francis: MAKE ME AN INSTRUMENT OF PEACE, LOVE, PARDON, UNION, TRUTH, FAITH, HOPE, LIGHT, AND JOY. He didn’t say, “get rid of all the ugly things so I don’t have to deal with them anymore.” He prayed: Give me the strength to be and bring everything that I want to create. Give me the fortitude to face life’s challenges, to keep on keeping on.
This could be the prayer of St. Ruth Bader Ginsburg, too — MAKE ME AN INSTRUMENT OF JUSTICE, EQUALITY, AND REASON. Give me the strength to persevere, to show up, to be a champion even when the deck seems stacked against me — especially then, especially now. RBG told us, “Speak your mind even if your voice shakes.”
I declare a landslide because it helps me to remember that we can be the landslide, my friends.
We do need to show up, with the fullness of our hearts, minds, and soul. We do need to continue to participate, even when we’re feeling discouraged.
With faith and commitment, we can bring ourselves to Life, bring our lives to Life, bring our vision to Life. WE ARE THE LANDSLIDE, AND I BELIEVE IN US.
Join us this week for my talk and some special music by Patty Stephens, Brynn Kimball, Melissa Martinez, and me. You can access everything online any time from Saturday evening at 6:00 pm onward — at BOSQUECSL.ORG, VIMEO.COM/BOSQUECSL, and on FACEBOOK.
Be well, loved ones. XO, Drew
© 2020 Drew Groves