Sunday, October 16, 2016

"Emerge and See" in Times of Emergency

(This simple epiphany came to me initially when Nashville flooded in 2010.  It comes to mind during times of flooding such as happened in Nepal last year and has occurred along the Eastern Coast recently especially in towns like Lumberton, NC and in the country of Haiti.) 

At lunch, I glimpsed news coverage titled "Flood Emergency Update." The word 'Emergency' caught my eye because I immediately saw tucked within another word - "emerge." Then I heard myself saying, "Emerge N C" followed by "Emerge and see."

I love words. They are simple yet powerful keys available for us to see the possibilities in times like these.

Imagine what is being held in this crisis if we can hold and use this as an opportunity to Emerge, to come out, to bring forth new ways of being, living and relating to one another and to Mother Earth.

Every emergency offers an opportunity for us to emerge and see the patterns, people and things that really matter.

Emerge and See with Me !
-Dawn! The Good News Muse 5/7/10, 5/01/15, 10/16/16

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Of Patterns, Papaw & the Patriarchy

(I originally wrote this in 2011, ten years after my grandfathers death. Yesterday it popped up in social media as a "memory" ..... moments after I realized today would be my grandfather's b'day. I reread this story and found it possibly more appropriate for what's occurring in our country today than it was in 2011. I hope you'll take a moment to read, share and consider how you are in relation to the patriarchy, control, or however you consider the challenges written of and evidenced in the world today. Then pause to meditate, pray or send good vibes to all.  - Dawn

This week at dinner I heard myself tell the cliff notes version of a story related to my father’s parents. I had not spoken details of this story aloud since summer when my 2ndcousin shared it.  

This cousin with whom I had never really talked at length and I had a random encounter in March at a high school basketball game. Now I know our meeting wasn’t so random.  I asked if he knew who the Native American man was in our family.  He told me a bit, but it wasn’t until August as I prepared to go to Cherokee that I called to talk further.  

Thirty years ago this year, I had seen a Native man in an old family photo.  My cousin was unable to fill in specific details about this mysterious man but I did learn Albert Crow was my grandmother’s grandfather, the unwed father of her father.  To those on prior branches of my family tree, to have a Native in the family and in an unmarried couple at that was something of deep shame.  Details are few because people refused to speak. 

Our speaking of the un-spoken loosed the bonds on other family un-spokens. My cousin asked if my father ever spoke of how my grandfather treated my grandmother.  This was the man we called Papaw, my father’s father who was so very controlling.  
My paternal grandparents prior to their marriage.
Today I see their photo and feel such sadness and compassion for them both. 
I shared how as a child I stood between him and my grandmother as he yelled at her.  I had also heard stories filtered through others after my grandmother’s death as to the abuse she had endured, abuse my father never spoke of but I suspect haunted him through life. 

At dinner this week while telling my friend of our family’s native kin and a bit of the above, I suddenly remembered this was December 23, the anniversary of Papaw’s death.  

Ten years ago he lay dying just down Natchez Trace in a nearby hospital.  My parents made the trip to sit in the ICU waiting room all day as I sat for periods of time with them. 

Each night after they returned home, I would check on him.  One night just prior to his death, he kept repeating two words.  “Lord’s prayer” over and over was all he said.  In my grandfather’s dying I glimpsed his terror.  I asked if he wanted me to say the “Lord’s prayer” with him or for him. He bluntly said, “No.”  I said it aloud anyway.  

My cousin shared how his own father did not speak to Papaw for decades because he could not bear how meanly his sister was treated.  He quit speaking to him until her death in 1981.

At the time of her death my grandfather, I learned, began to call his brother-in-law and ask forgiveness.  My cousin shared how his father listened at times quite regularly to my grandfather cry and share his sorrow.   

This morning I realize my grandfather, the frightened man who lay dying just down the street ten years ago represents the dying patriarchy and the frightened, vulnerable part of us all that tries to control situations out of discomfort or fear of loosing control.

Although I don't think of myself as controlling as Papaw, I too am part of the patriarchy.  That night at his bedside my intentions may have been good, but I exerted control, assumed I knew what was best as I said the Lord's prayer rather than honor his request. I said the Lord's prayer as a means to allay my discomfort as much as his.  I took control rather than risk vulnerability and share my heart's words, "I'm sad you're scared."

This holiday ten years after his December 23rddeath, I’m grateful to know Papaw found his confessor in my cousin’s father.  Ten years later in my own journey, I'm grateful to remember that speaking from my heart may make me feel vulnerable, yet it is in vulnerability that power lies.

In this time of changing patterns, as competition and control give way to compassion and community, I find myself wondering, "If greedy CEO's and lobbyists suddenly made themselves vulnerable and said 'We're sorry. Forgive us' could I hear them as my cousin’s father heard my grandfather?  Can I hear the fears of those who in their anger don’t even know they’re afraid or vulnerable, the many politicians and white men especially rallying behind cries for fewer restrictions on guns and the EPA?  Can I hold their fear as they unconsciously sense their numbers are diminishing as America becomes more diverse?  Can I offer the dying patriarchy compassion?

With awareness, loose threads from over the decades seem to find their place in life’s tapestry.  Broken connections are healed between the generations and in the greater connected web as we offer compassion through openness, vulnerability and a desire to understand.  
-Dawn! The Good News Muse, 1
3 October 2016 first posted 2011