On Friday, I attended a rally centered around the death of George Floyd here in Missoula, Montana, organized by the UM Black Student Union. Despite it being a quickly put together event, there was a good attendance and in large part a collective adherence to covid protocols (ie: mask wearing & social distancing).
Each time I am alerted to an organized gathering centered around a particular issue or matter in our lovely mountain town – this liberal oasis in an otherwise beet red state – I try my best to ascertain whether it will be a rally or a protest before I commit myself to attending. Similar to the Mother Teresa quote above, I myself am all for events that are pro/for-something but I am not likely to attend if it’s more of an against-something sort of event. A yes-event vs. a no-event, if you will.
I don’t consider myself an activist. I would never use that word to describe myself nor do I think it’s an apt descriptor to use should someone else try to pin that label on me. But please don’t get me wrong, I think activists are an important demographic of our population and I am glad there are many who gravitate in this direction. We all have our different callings – and thank goodness for that. There are a lot of worthy directions to travel in and each of us only has so much time and energy to devote in any given day.
My lens and frame of reference is definitely in the midst of changing in regards to how I regard these types of gatherings. My calling in the direction of spiritual leadership and living a spiritual life clouds this further for me. So I’m in continued process with how best to use my presence & voice; how to help affect change without judging or blaming or hating or fighting; how to be both a spiritual practitioner and an advocate for social justice; how to practice genuine love and show respect for people while not condoning their actions; how to use silence as a tool and not a weapon of complacency; how to be for everyone while not being against anyone.
I’ve said it many times before and I’ll say it again: I’m a work in progress.
Here’s something I penned over the weekend:
regardless of how deplorable
we find them,
is a free agent,
un-tethered from everything
that has ever happened.
An entire empire of causes & conditions,
as vast as the amount of starshine
and empty space in the galaxy,
presides over every single
one of us.