On the Camino in Spain recently, I saw a piece of graffiti, written in French by a delicate hand. What it said loosely translates to:
There are flowers everywhere, for those willing to look for them.
This is a difficult moment, if the moment only includes politics. It’s also a beautiful one, if we know where to look. It’s also just a moment - not an era, or an epoch, or a generation. Just a moment. Some of us are suffering terribly. Some of us are working hard for the common good. Some of us are realizing that we have lots of opportunities, right now, to devote ourselves to love - of the transcendent, of ourselves, of our neighbors, no matter who they may be?
In A Sleep of Prisoners, the English poet Christopher Fry wrote:
“Thank God our time is now when wrong
Comes up to face us everywhere,
Never to leave us till we take
The longest stride of soul folk ever took.
Affairs are now soul size.
The enterprise is exploration into God.
Where are you making for?
It takes so many thousand years to wake,
But will you wake for pity’s sake?”
Will we wake?
Will we expand your vision beyond the present moment - to not see merely the pain and trouble in the world, but the beautiful butterflies too?
Will we live only in fear and lament at how some things seem to not be working out the way we want them to? Or will we wake to a different way of seeing things: the fact that perhaps as never before, there are lots of opportunities to practice what we believe?
So let’s consider this: could we let our pain and fear fuel our loving action for the common good? Could we allow our anxiety to trigger us into the present? To see how far we’ve come, to know that this is not the Trump era, but the Trump moment, as well as the moment when we have more opportunity to practice what we believe? That the path to happiness is, as Naomi Klein says, to ask not just what we want to say “No” to, but what is the bigger Yes?