So… is JR dead, or not? I wanted, at first, to call for a script rewrite like it’s the 80’s again and the writers of Dallas knew they had made a mistake so they called it all a dream. And then I wanted coffee. And a moment to think. Not about the promises any one candidate has made, but the promises I have made. To myself. To my children. About how I am to be in the face of adversity, not about who is the face of this adversity. And then I wanted to reach out. And write.
Because face it, folks. We have been here and done this. We have addressed this over and over. Entire curriculums have been built around it and if we think about it, maybe the current situation is another gate we must pass through to “level up”. I know, life isn’t a video game but video games are heightened, glitzy, annoyingly soundtracked versions of life. We pass go and collect 200 dollars. Or push buttons to jump and grab floating jewels. Or Pokemans. The better we get, the bigger the challenge, right? Well, we must be getting pretty darn good at it because this challenge is of Goliath proportions. But we are the Davids — an entire mass of Davids.
Bullies are the stuff legends are made of — first in their own minds and then in our storylines. They are the subjects of our Saturday morning cartoons and Sunday morning sermons and way too many headlines. They are stereotypic and archetypal. They are fathers or mothers and teachers or bosses and teammates and playmates and principals and presidents. Sometimes, if we aren’t careful, they are us. But, here’s the thing, while we don’t want to become them, there’s nothing that says they can’t become us. We have to view this moment in time as a gift. One that we don’t need so we will most certainly regift. Let’s wrap it in beauty and offer it with love. Because its not about who they are. It’s about who we are. As my youngest has voiced, her favorite part is when the “Grinch gets nice”.
In the “People of the Lie: The Hope for Healing Human Evil”, M. Scott Peck, M.D. analyzes the nature of people who attack others instead of facing their own failings and outlines the havoc this creates in the lives of those around them. He recounts incidents within families and businesses, as well as within governments that have led to broken lives and breaking points. It is a hard book to read but a necessary one for anyone seeking a positive change, not just in themselves but in the world around them. He quotes research conducted in 1952 regarding events dating to the 1700’s, stating the following:
“Those who crusade not for God in themselves, but against the devil in others, never succeed in making the world better, but leave it either as it was, or sometimes even perceptibly worse than it was, before the crusade began. By thinking primarily of evil we tend, however excellent our intentions, to create occasions for evil to manifest itself“
The glass ceiling may not have been shattered but the presidency is a fish bowl on a pedestal. Swimming within is a teaching moment for those inside who will now be held to the same rules that they hurled as accusations. In their service to the country, their servers will be scrutinized. They will legislate the very rules they have avoided. There is no bigger stage but there will also be no bigger microscope. Their movement grew like a weed but in legitimizing it, aren’t we now able to regulate and tax it? The image that comes to mind appears at the end of the animated Disney movie Aladdin when the evil Jafar wishes to be an “all powerful Genie”. He forgot what came with that. “Phenomenal cosmic power and itty bitty living space.” The shackles of civil servitude will, perhaps, serve a higher purpose.
This morning, my eldest posted the following on her Facebook…
“I am extremely grateful for the relatively privileged life that I live. Above all else, I am even more grateful I have the privilege to continue teaching our future generations love, respect, and understanding now when we need it more than ever”
She… takes my breath away as she is modeling beauty in the face of all the ugly. She knows she can handle what is before her because she is conditioned by the work that is behind her. This struggle is not new for anyone who lives or thinks outside of the “box” they check on the forms of our lives. But those boxes don’t define us so it must not define how we treat them. We should not give in to the desire to label the rock we are hoping they will crawl back under.
The sad truth is that the playing field will never be level and is littered with those rocks that will always trip us up. But where we stumble is where we will find our strength. I am not model beautiful — and most likely that would have been pointed out if I had stood at a town hall meeting — but I will model beautiful. I will model for my children how beautiful it is to stand in my own power — because I have withstood hate. I will model how beautiful the truth is and how it feels to know I have acted with integrity and honor. I will model beautiful courage — cultivated because I was willing to hike the treacherously unlevel playing field that is our life. I hiked it when I was tired. I hiked it when I was broken. I hiked it when I was afraid. I hiked it 21,000 steps worth in one night to move out of a house that I could not stay in. Like Ginger Rogers, I hiked it in high heels, knowing that dancing backwards was not a retreat. At the ugliest moments of my life, I will model beautiful. You can, too.