facing another way, part 3 of 5

thinkinga personal reflection in anticipation of the Feast of the Epiphany, January 6, 2017

When I look back to 2016 for epiphanies or revelations of change for others and for myself, among many things, I think about…

Election Day, November 8, and the culmination of a tumultuous, rancorous presidential campaign and the ongoing ramifications, reverberations for America and, I daresay, the world…

I grow more fretful (fearful?) about the incoming administration, which, given Donald Trump’s continuing and consistent airing of his stump-speech rhetoric and his choices for Cabinet and governmental posts, appears to be more politically and socially conservative, indeed, regressive than I find fitting or faithful to our American identity as expressed in our national motto, E pluribus unum.

The rise of nationalism, nativism in the politics of many countries in Europe and America[1] as governments sought to grapple with numerous concerns; prominent among them, the explosion of violent ideological extremism and terrorism, immigration and the migrant crisis of millions of dislocated peoples, and cyber-insecurity and its immediate effects on domestic and economic security…

I wonder whether America, both concerning our presidential administration and we as a people, particularly in regard and response to extremism and terrorism, can and will sharpen the line between justice and vengeance, between increased safety and the loss of our personal liberties, between self-defense and, if vengeance is our course, self-destruction of our national soul’s health.

The continued minority community-law enforcement tensions, heightened by police-involved killings of black men and what seem to be retaliatory shootings of police officers…

I worry that the trust-mistrust of the police, which distinctly divides along racial lines, may be, if not conclusive evidence, then a dreadfully proverbial canary-in-the-coal-mine-warning of America’s yet to be resolved societal and systemic inequality in the respect for human life.

The Bethelehemic experience of birth, bearing the joy of new and innocent life and a renewal of hope for the growth of love, peace, and justice in this world…

I have shared, often through the “miracle” of Facebook, in the wonder of the births of babies of friends around the nation and world. Still, I worry about the world into which these new lives have come; a world where, as I perceive it, hatred often overrides love, war outweighs peace, and inequity outbalances justice.

Illness

I witnessed and walked with others through their bouts with sundry sicknesses from moderate to severe and their rounds of various treatments. Late in the year, I, and later still, my daughter underwent surgeries to correct longstanding conditions. The infirmities of friends and family, and my own brought me face to face afresh with my unhappiness, sometimes, I confess, my bitterness about life’s often sudden and always uncontrollable turns of chance and circumstance and gratitude for the restoration to health whene’er and for whom it came and a commitment to live as well as I can for as long as I can.

Death

I joined with countless others with saddened sentiments of the deaths in 2016 of many notable persons and personalities; the accumulation of their departures seeming to pick of speed in the last months of the year. Most near and dear, Timothy MacBeth Veney, my brother from another mother, died in July. That Tim was Pontheolla’s and my forever “frienily” (a friend who is family) and married to Loretta, also our forever “frienily”, stirred and still stirs sorrow. Yet, given Tim’s especially virtuous love, verily, righteous lust for life, I have come to a higher appreciation for the content of human character of others and my own, a broader attention to crafting and caring for my legacy to the next generation, and a deeper acceptance and less fearful respect for the enduring reality of human mortality.

Continuing to look back, again I ask, what do you see? How have you been changed?

More to come…looking forward

 

Footnote:

[1] Sometimes I think of this development as a Western expression or perhaps reaction to what has been termed, rather misleadingly, I think, as the “Arab Spring” of late 2010 forward; a time when multiple Middle Eastern countries witnessed the advent of citizen demonstrations protesting the way things were and compelling change. What makes Arab Spring a confusing or, at the least, an ambiguous descriptor is that the political transformations largely have been away from an Arab nationalism toward a Muslim identity.

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2 thoughts on “facing another way, part 3 of 5

  1. Paul,

    I’d say you reflected in exquisite fashion on every change / fear / epiphany that I experienced in 2016.

    The Election as you know terrified me enough that I shared with you on several occasions that Canada was starting to look very appealing as a new home! Each time I mentioned you’d yell “you are NOT leaving” and we’d laugh! Going into this Year post 1/20 is the unknown and I just pray it won’t be as bad as we think.

    I’m more positive about the minority-law enforcement relations going forward. I pray that more law enforcement organizations realize that the scrutiny of these cases will continue until change occurs, through more effective training of officers and other means!

    I also fear illness…. having been in excellent health over the last 10 years or so, I wonder if something bad will reappear when and least expect it…. AND if it does who will take care of me??

    DEATH….so prior to July, I thought the most significant death that would impact me would be Prince’s death. I was wrong! There are times, moments that I still don’t believe that Tim is dead….I still wake up some mornings thinking it must have been a dream. But it isn’t.

    So I go into 2017 with gusto!! Afraid to waste even a minute of time and so as not to miss something I could have experienced or learned. The future is still a little scary but I’m ALL IN. Let’s all keep thinking of Tim, and most importantly HOW he lived as you mentioned, so that we don’t let our fears keep us from living joyously!! I look forward to seeing you and Pontheolla in a few weeks so we can toast him at Clevedale, one of the places that brought him so much joy! We are changed, yes, but we are ready for what’s next too!

    Much love!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Loretta, for your characteristic exuberance of and for life. You are an embodiment of hopefulness for me in the way and ways you face squarely into the reality of your life – all of it; the good and the bad – and move forward. Thank you for your witness to faithfulness. Thank you for you.

      It will be grand to see you and to toast Mr. Timothy. I know he loved Clevedale. Clevedale loved and loves him!

      Much love

      Liked by 1 person

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