Monday, June 14

Tuesday’s Temptation: The Status Quo Snapshot

I have been experiencing a great deal of inertia lately. I don't know if it is the dog days of winter, if it is this new thing in my life-tinnitus, or if it is my meds being altered. Or some combination thereof. What I do know is that the temptation to cocoon up into my room shutting out everything is great. I call this wanting to live in the status quo snapshot. 

There is a lot of change in the world. This is a normal thing. Change is continually happening around us. If we aren't seeing it, we aren't listening. Listening is not something the societal "we" do well right now. There is too much fear of this change that is coming. Partly because we view change as something that is coming rather than something that is always happening!

All the debates in all the world could change from change that is being done to us to change that is happening and our job is to participate in the best, most fully human, most fully holy* way possible.

To show up. To be fully human. To be fully imbued with the holy. This is hard work. It is much easier to create a box and say, "You're in, you're out." Being present with another person means understanding nuance, potential, and understanding that we will make intentional choices that will end up necessarily excluding others.

Yesterday, I sat with my volunteer team at the Pride Foundation. We were reviewing scholarship applicants. Our task, one one team's task, was to whittle down the stack of 21 applicants to just four. And there are many teams doing such tasks. Then the four received from my team and other teams will be further whittled down to just three or four recipients of actual scholarships. We figure that there were about 2,000 scholarship applications and four people or so will receive scholarships. [Note: I'm just guessing.]

As I was reading these applications and reviewing grades and resumes, I saw outstanding individuals with indescribable life challenges, and incredible levels of poverty. Each one of them deserves to go to school. The work they are doing is astounding. And yet, to be fully present. To participate in the best, most fully human, most fully holy way that I could, I needed to make intentional choices. And I hold some grief for the applications we did not choose.

So much easier to put people in a box. Or a sorting hat. Let the universe solve the problem and lean back into the status quo. After all, if we do that, we don't actually harm others. And although I did not do intentional harm or maybe what some people would define as harm, people were hurt by not being chosen for a scholarship.

If we take this small story and blow it up to something big like the climate, we can see that by not making choices to participate in climate care in the best, most fully human, most fully holy [healing] way possible, we are falling back into a position of the status quo snapshot. And disbelief that harm is done. The science of climate makes it even easier because most of us are not equipped to understand it. But that is okay. I would say that we are still called to be fully human and fully holy by being present to climate care. But it takes opening yourself up to grief when you make intentional choices rather than being able to step back and say, "I didn't do nuthin."

Oh. And if it isn't clear, to be present is to be active. To be fully human is to access all of yourself including your actions. To be fully holy is to access your connection to the wider community.

So yeah, the temptation of the status quo is great. It protects people from experiencing grief and our society does not do grief well.

So, I suppose my prayer today is that I step outside my own status quo snapshot and be curious about the rest of the story

The Temptation of Snapshots
Louwala-Clough stands
cerulean skies embrace
cumulus clouds drift


*I define holy, for myself, as a connection to the divine. However, there are definitions such as its ancient connections to the word healing that are helpful to explore.



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