John Lewis died a few days ago on Friday, July 17. He was an inspiration, as a leader, and as a courageousAF freedom fighter. These days I need inspiration more than ever. Thank god it’s there in so many courageous voices and actions. This morning I found this courage in Michelle Obama’s and Glennon Doyle’s posts on Instagram. Calling on people to vote. Speaking real-ness. Though I can pass hours doing whatever, almost nothing, this and that, what I’m craving is inspiration to help me stand up to my fear, to overcome it, at least sometimes. We don’t do this kind of struggle alone. Living alone and in Covid isolation, well, I need things to remind me. It helps when people reach out with their truths — their bravery and their fears. This morning, in response to Michelle and Glennon and John Lewis, I wrote the following post on Facebook. I decided to post it here. Please let me know your dark and/or light thoughts. ( not really for me. for my friend. she needs a little support just now. thank you on her behalf).
As I said, and you probably already knew the great and honorable John Lewis died. There are other deaths — murders happening. Unnecessary Covid deaths from a criminal negligence by the Potus. Police killings of Black people. Central American and Mexican children dying and/or abused in detention, ok, call them what they are prison camps on our border.
A lot of us (just speaking for my friend here) are hitting walls, Covid walls, Treacherous Potus walls, Losses-of-all-kinds walls, Heartbroken walls. When the obvious is a kind of blatancy, SO blatant, like a military parade coming down the Main Street of your own town or neighborhood, and it’s the occupying forces, straight-legged goose-stepping, like the SS, and in the lead, linking arms with Trump and Ivanka are Pinochet and the entire Argentinian military junta who disappeared young protestors by throwing their live bodies out of airplanes over the southern Atlantic while the mothers of these lost children worked and vigiled for decades trying to find their children. Also linking arms with Trump are his old friends HItler, Franco, and Mussolini. And look, they’re all waving the Confederate flag! Off to the side, the camouflaged and unidentified soldiers throw innocent citizens into unmarked vans.
Someday we’ll say it started with slavery and then after centuries, Minneapolis, and then Portland. These names and places and dates will be in the history books someday only if we win the election in November, only if somehow the military refrains from aligning with a fascist dictatorship.
Remember in the ’60s and ’70s when people were organizing within the military to encourage soldiers to refrain from fighting in Vietnam? We can’t write off the military; I’m praying that people are organizing from within, that the military might recall the concept of democracy and fight for it along with us.
With the numbers of Covid cases and deaths going up, with our country fractured (intentionally) by the despot-Trump, we are in deep trouble. This is all just to say (for my friend), she is scared and tired and she’s pretty sure that even though we’re all acting, and sometimes being, really brave, she thinks that maybe she’s not alone in her fear and tiredness. Sometimes the only thing that gets her through the day is ALL the inspiration people share on Facebook and Instagram. Sometimes the inspiration is the good stuff — the beautiful, the powerful. Sometimes it’s someone we take to be as braveAF, admitting she’s exhausted and terrified, and doesn’t know what to do — in this moment. It’s important to see and hear her voice too. She WILL recover. She will exhale; she will inhale again. Thank god she’s still able to feel gratitude. And little flickers of hope. And swells of determination.
and… from Michelle Obama on Instagram today…
2 thoughts on ““totally carpeing the hell outta these diems..””
Thank you for this Beautiful Gayle. PLEASE keep writing. xoxoxo
On Mon, Jul 20, 2020 at 10:56 AM Gayle Markow: As I am… wrote:
> Gayle posted: “John Lewis died a few days ago on Friday, July 17. He was > an inspiration, as a leader, and as a courageousAF freedom fighter. These > days I need inspiration more than ever. Thank god it’s there in so many > courageous voices and actions. This morning I fo” >
Out of five friends who Zoomed together late last week, three reported having been struck by a combination of “activist overwhelm” and deep sadness. As if the enormous losses and our attempts to Pay Attention, to Stop the Violence, to Seize This Time of Possibility had suddenly laid us low–exhausted and tearful at every new reported harm and every telling of someone’s heartfelt story.
On Sunday morning I’d try “going to church”, one that offered silence and music and movement and a sermon/dharma talk on the great Bodhisattva, Harriet Tubman. It helped. My tears flowed and my body shook. And the story of Harriet, a human who worked and then rested, who took strength from her sangha of family and friends, somehow worked a little magic, brought more balance and ease. It’s every Sunday 10:00am-11:30 PT and then archived in case you want to attend the “late service”.
This “On Being” podcast was also helpful. . . about grieving in the Time of Covid. A reminder that grieving is normal, not the same as depression which by definition is “pathological”. And that when we suffer loss, we need to grieve in a community of love.
Love you and your writing and your “being there” when we can, together.