Thank you and good Night

This meditation originally ran on The Wizard of Monadnock on May 28, 2013.

As the holy light outside,
Though powerful with this waxing, bursting season,
Fades down to twilight and evening and night,
As our funny Mother Earth turns us yet again back into the gray,
We say thanks as we bid the day farewell.

Someday, we shall die.
Today, however, we lived.
Once more, for another one,
We lived.
We can scarcely be more grateful than in recognition of this.

We hope that we seized today’s opportunity,
We hope we treated others well and with kindness and light,
We hope we met adversity with hope and bright perspective,
We hope, dare we say it, to have traded on the day to our own advantage –
But also to the advantage of the world.

All these things we can hope together, we can consider – 
For one last moment – 
Before we let it slip away.
Slip away, slip away,
Good or bad,
Slip away.
The day is done so be ye rid,
Be ye rid the shackles of possibility and regret.

Tomorrow begins anew. 
Before we know it, dawn will come to the next Unity Tuesday.
So, in kinship with our friends the mountain hawks,
We smile, lower our foreheads to the ground in humility,
We say thanks and good night,
And we say them with love.

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We Missed the Dawn

This meditation initially ran in The Wizard of Monadnock on June 11, 2013

 

The truth is that we missed the dawn today.
Today’s dawn awakened before we did.
These are the days when light reigns supreme,
Prancing atop the heights and dancing down below,
Perching and waiting and grinning for us,
Sitting there already in front of us as we open our eyes.
So it begins: Unity Tuesday.

Oh, let it be a day of light, a day of smiles, and a day of warm cheer,
May the rain that falls down be permitted to nourish the soils,
And settle the tensions in the atmosphere and in our spirits.
May we not fail to remember that what is in front of our eyes
Is but a shadow of the Great Mystery – 
The Great Mystery and all the Little Mysteries inside of it.
Today is not our desk or our work or our troubles and stress,
No,
Today is colorful and magical. Today is mysterious. Today is strange.

Today is divine –
May we not forget.

The truth is that we may have missed the dawn today,
But the dawn never misses us.

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Spiritual Bullshit

This article originally appeared on The Wizard of Monadnock on May 3, 2013.

Wednesday was May Day. You may know that, but you probably didn’t think about it very much. It’s just one more bright holiday in which we don’t really get to participate in this joyless culture of ours. I’ve talked about this many times. We generally blow the holidays we manage to celebrate and skip altogether some of the best in the year. May Day is one of them.

People a generation or two older than myself, as well as those in my own generation who were fortunate enough to go to a Waldorf School or curse-blessed with NPR parents, are aware that May Day is an ancient spring festival celebrated all around the world. There are poles to dance around and songs to sing because life is back and we’re fully in the midst of spring. This is, if you’ve been following me even loosely, the kind of thing this wizard goes crazy for. I’ve stated previously that following such holy days of celebration is part of the reason for my existence in the first place.

But I’d be lying if I didn’t tell you that my heart yearns more for the other, more temporal, May 1 commemoration, which is often also called May Day but is more properly known as International Workers’ Day. It is exactly as its name suggests, a celebration of the international labor movement. It is formally recognized in 80 countries (spoiler alert: not America) and marks the anniversary of a riot at a labor demonstration in Haymarket Square in Chicago in 1886.

I have never tried to hide my passionate criticism of the present-day American workplace and I have never tried to hide my contempt for Market Worship and consumerism in general, but I have always tried to avoid delving deeply into the “morass” of politics in my posts as the Wizard. This is due to beliefs and boundaries I possess regarding the role of Wizard and not due to personal inclination. Those who know me personally understand that I believe “politics” to be as inseparable from “life” as “spirituality” is. Life is politics. Everything is politics. When I wear my other hats (I love hats, and have many), I say these things openly, all the time.

While I have hosted the occasional foray into political commentary, primarily in the minuscule Culture and the WORLD section, since the inception of this site in October, I have felt that to mire myself and readers in an endless stream of temporal debate and current events would be merely to indulge appetites I already gorge on msnbc and Salonand to fly in the face of one of the primary strategic foundations of the blog itself. It is a strategy based in pragmatism, and it is a pragmatism based in the things which I have learned and seen in my lifetime. We can use my politics themselves as the analogy. In high school, I was a card-carrying member of the Massachusetts Libertarian Party. I was a fervent volunteer at one of their annual party conventions and even got one of their statewide candidates to speak at an event at school. I don’t blame myself one bit for this insanity – let’s face it, libertarianism is a political philosophy that is tailor-made for hormonal white male high schoolers. But beyond a deviant year (2010) spent dallying in advocacy toward a peculiar self-invented anti-corporate fascism (whatever), I have spent more than the last decade as some sort of leftist or other.

Despite the fact that I am the most radical leftist in my office, it would surprise many to learn that I am a very bad socialist, the kind that the “pure” socialists would denounce as a vaguely pink liberal at best. You see, I quite frequently root for democrats.

But what many don’t understand about this is that I root for democrats in the same way that I root for the Red Sox. Some will castigate me for saying so, but it’s about enjoying the sport, which (arguably) requires choosing a favorite among the major league teams and rooting for them. I would rather the Red Sox win than the Yankees or the Blue Jays or the Phillies, and I would rather the soft, pathetic, cowardly, corporatist, center-right, neoliberal democrats win than the republicans, especially since they have devolved to represent little more than deranged sociopathic children running around setting off fireworks in random directions and making a game out of gleeful repression. Beyond love of the game, this is also born of my very real knowledge that, just as a rag-tag baseball team comprised of my local buddies isn’t going to win a World Series (or, likely, so much as a local softball championship), good-souled radicals seeking to replace the exploitation of the current system with something more ethical and human (or even old fashioned New Dealers, which I’d settle for) aren’t going to win any elections or revolutions here in America any time soon, and likely in our lifetime. Sadly, I’m also aware that the joyous victories of either the democrats or the Red Sox are not likely going to significantly change my life.

On a more personal level, it’s also born of the knowledge that a disproportionate number of elements that compose my life are outside of my control and beyond my capacity to fix. Since I lose a good deal of my finite time and energy struggling against this lack of control over unpleasant external conditions, I seek to focus, here at the very least, on my internal condition, which is something I believe myself able to control, at least to some degree. On the one hand, this can be viewed as defeatist. On the other, it can be viewed as entirely consistent with most religions and spiritual traditions, be they the theistic reliance of the Abrahamic religions or the acceptance and inner quietude of Buddhism and Taoism. As a seeker and a mystic and a wizard who knows what I know and who embraces aspects of all of these traditions, this drive towards inward revolution, this goal of changing the world only by changing our experience of the world by changing ourselves is paramount.

Yet it is with this fundamental assumption that I find myself profoundly struggling this week. The reason this post is late, a May Day retrospective instead of a timely special May Day message, is because I’ve been wrestling with a conflict of ideas in my mind, and everybody knows you can’t well write and wrestle at the same time. I’m locked in mental combat with the notion that I might be wrong about all of this.

***

It is true that lately I’ve been letting my reddest inner socialist run wild and poisoning my intellect with the challenging concepts found in places like Jacobin and In These Times. (Seriously, even if you’re a capitalist or hate politics, if you are interested in strengthening your brain by battering it with intelligent and complicated ideas you’ve never seen anywhere else, check them out – especially young renegade Jacobin.) But especially since I never do this, please indulge me this once, for but a few more moments.

We know that capitalism’s most obvious evil lies in its systemic concentration of benefit in the hands of the very few at the expense of the many, but there are more insidious aspects that are just as consequential, if not more. You see, capitalism perpetuates itself by changing accepted definitions of things. Capitalism transforms things which used to be held in common, such as food and land and water into a grossly expanded form of “property.” Capitalism transforms absolutely everything you can think of into math, also known as monetization. Everything is tied to money and ownership, to the point where we accept such notions as Scripture, Human Nature, and The Way Things Have Always Been, even though absolutely none of those descriptions are remotely accurate. And it’s getting worse as time goes by.

Because we don’t question the idea that everything involves money and everything can be owned, there are so many subsequent assumptions we just never challenge. In honor of May Day, at the very least, I will list some of them.

  • We do not question the assumption that the owner of the means of production has a right to profit directly and handsomely from the labor of paid workers, even though said profits would not be possible without said labor
  • We do not question the assumption that the person who happens to have money is entitled to a better life than the person who doesn’t
  • We do not question the maxim that competition is better than cooperation
  • We do not question the assumption that we must earn a life of basic dignity or that our value as humans lies in our capacity to be productive
  • We do not question the assumption that those few who possess true financial security are those who deserve it or who have earned it and not merely those who are lucky

If you ask me, these are very serious philosophical concepts with profound implications on our lives which bear rigorous discussion in the middle of the public square. But as far as I’m concerned, this is also old news. It’s old news, like that of the Kennedy assassination, that really pisses me off all the time, but it’s not what’s got me all tangled in knots today. For that, we’ve got to get into some of the more recent (and more depressing) decline. In a post-industrial “service economy” complete with a weak and, some would argue, ineffective and uninspired labor movement, our workplaces employ a devious marriage of deskilling (the standardization and/or automation of tasks so that all employees are basically replaceable and/or interchangeable) and specialized differentiation (splitting of workers into specialized groups, not merely the separations of executive management, middle management, supervisory management, and worker, but also the division of tasks into smaller groups and departments in the name of efficiency) that serves quite effectively as one of many barriers to any sort of solidarity among the workers. The omnipresent carrot of possible promotion does the same thing.

If I help that dude, he might end up getting something that I won’t get.

No longer content merely to extract labor in exchange for money, the masters of capital today pay us for our time, as though this were something that is ours to sell them. All aspects of our time at work are therefore fair game for the most intense and inhuman regulation, all in the name of efficiency and productivity, which are the only things that matter anymore. If you spend too much time looking out the window and breathing and thinking, you are said to be stealing time as if these people actually own a piece of your life and you no longer have any rights to it at all.

Even this is not enough. With the advent of intrusive workplace drug testing and “unbecoming conduct” policies, employers have seized for themselves the right to regulate all of our lives, not just the hours that they pay for. It is, in fact, accepted on a mass scale that, since employment results in the paycheck that pays for everything else, work is the most important thing that we do in our lives, so it’s basically natural that our employer would have a say in all aspects of it. It is widely accepted that companies have a right to do whatever they want with respect to the employees they select and discard, just as it is widely accepted that one is “lucky” to have a job and should be “grateful.”

We should get down on our knees and thank our masters for the ability to spend the majority of our waking lives doing unpleasant things that we don’t want to do in order to earn the right to eat and have a place to live. Seriously? Seriously.

(One thing I find sad is that this is seen by the freedom-loving libertarians as “rugged individualism” and “personal responsibility” instead of the most threatening and destructive type of tyranny that human beings can possibly face.)

Considering all of this, I find the conclusion inescapable. To accept that our spiritual lives are our own private responsibility, something to be considered and exercised on our own, on “our own time”, is to act in service to these cruel masters. It’s to surrender to them, to collaborate with them. Thinking this way – the way that I usually think – helps them consolidate and root firmly the control of the few over the many. The very idea is born of the notion that nothing is collective, that all responsibility, and indeed all spirituality, is purely personal, purely private. Just one compartment in a life compartmentalized of necessity in service to one’s daily work. It’s spiritual robbery. How can I allow myself to collaborate in this nefarious scheme?

Yet, being myself an imperfect Wizard, it is often only in moments of great difficulty that I am confronted with this fact face-to-face. When things are only moderately bad, it seems possible to me that we might live a life of meaningful vibrancy solely on the basis of our personal comportment and inner direction. I can, regrettably, accept the defeat of the inhumane way in which we life when I can effectively practice defiant spirituality on my own.

But what about when I can’t?

In the same way that the philosophy of market capitalism requires endless growth, the philosophy of the post-industrial, scientific workplace requires endless gains in productivity. This is the reason I’ve held the same job for seven years and it gets harder over time. They keep the bar moving upward so that there is no success but that which is most fleeting and never any wayward mentions of “good enough” and “sufficient.” No, there must be “excellence.” There must be “improvement.”

But even though we’re constantly told, and often believe, that we are soft and lazy, productivity has been on the rise for two and a half decades in this country. We’re working harder than we’ve ever worked in our history, and we’re getting paid roughly what we’d be getting paid in 1972. That’s despite the fact that expenses have skyrocketed in the last 40 years and despite the fact that we did less work and retired earlier back in 1972. We go to college, which is more expensive than ever, going into impossible debt to do so. In exchange, we receive the vague possibility of a job. Once we receive that job, there is no security attached to it. It could always be gone tomorrow. So we must never relax in order that the job is still there tomorrow. We must continue to work harder and harder, longer and longer.

When the day is done, I am exhausted. Everyone else is, too. The best writing I have ever read on this subject is actually not something found in any “fashionable socialist rag” (as my closest friend would say), but in the Onion. It’s a little piece, one that will make you laugh bitterly, and one that really says it all. It’s not a purely physical exhaustion, it’s mental as well. Frankly, under such conditions, proper spiritual practice is impossible. It’s not because we’re “caught up in the world of desires and suffering” or “undisciplined” as many (especially eastern) spiritualists would claim. It’s because weariness is a very real thing, energy is a very finite thing, and sometimes too much of it is taken from us.

That is spiritual bullshit. That is the line that’s crossed, the line at which it is clear that we are being denied not merely our economic rights and human rights and cultural rights. We are being denied our spiritual rights as well. That’s the line at which you can’t escape the politics. The advancing conquest of their empire has moved forward from total control of the external into control of the internal as well, and that is bullshit. That is what must never be permitted. This is what fills me with boiling, healthy, human rage.

I’m calling bullshit, and in calling bullshit I’m calling for revolution. I’m declaring the right of all mankind to the Commons of the Spirit.

This means that spirituality can’t just be private. I do not mean this in the sense that we must all believe the same thing or must share in the same practices – far be it from me. I mean that we can’t keep it to ourselves, I mean that peace possessed alone is no kind of peace at all. I mean that transcendence experienced privately and personally in only certain times and certain places is fine and good for us as individuals but worthless to all of us as a people. The only way that we can prevent the wealthy and the powerful and the employer from taking our spiritual health is if we possess it in common. It is together, not alone or in isolated groups, that we must assert that life is more than anything related to our work, more than the level of our productivity, more still than the level of our “usefulness.”

It might make me a bad socialist or a reactionary, but I believe we possess a greater capacity to take this aspect of human experience back than we do some of the other aspects. I still believe, as I did before, that a spiritual revolution can – and perhaps must – come before the cultural and economic one. I believe that, realistically, we may not be able to secure many rights we deserve – the right to food, the right to health, the right (gasp) to income, the right to a place to live, the right to security, the right to freedom from fear (as FDR so nicely put it) – but we damn well might be able to secure the right to the health of our own souls.

This must start now, and I can’t do it by myself. I can’t do it on my own ideas alone, because I don’t know enough. Join me if you dare, even you libertarians out there – it’s in your rational self-interest to do so.

Happy belated May Day. Salaam.

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Stoning Amos

 

This article originally appeared on The Wizard of Monadnock on May 21, 2013.

“The one who made the Pleiades and Orion, and turns deep darkness into the morning, and darkens the day into night, who calls for the waters of the sea, and pours them out on the surface of the earth, the LORD is his name, who makes destruction flash out against the strong, so that destruction comes upon the fortress.”
Amos 5:8,9 (NRSV)

It was a prophet named Amos who told that to us. I suspect others have said it before him, but his words are the easiest for us to find. The difficulty lies not in the matter of finding it or reading it, but in the fact that we no longer listen to any prophets. We no longer listen to any prophets, and we no longer welcome the Powers that lie behind them.

But just because Pat Robertson and Joel Osteen piss in the Jordan doesn’t mean the water isn’t sacred anymore.

I am sitting on a donated commemorative bench resting crookedly atop a weak sand dune awaiting its inevitable reclaiming by the sea. I am wearing a suit and tie, an old, battered, ill-fitting and inexpensive black suit I purchased nearly a decade ago and trot out for every wedding and funeral and unfortunate court appearance that comes my way. My tie is wrinkled despite my half-hearted attempt to iron it early this morning, and the knot holding it together bears only tenuous resemblance to a proper one. I can’t actually do a proper one. I ask other people to do it for me, and then I just never untie it for as long as possible.

This is Plum Island, a forever shifting barrier island, which is basically to say it is a glorified sand bar that is long and thick and almost semi-permanent. It lies between the storied tip of Cape Ann and the carnival that is the little chunk of New Hampshire coastline. Here by the newly bolstered stone jette, on the northern tip of the island, from my slightly elevated perch, I oversee a grand natural intersection. To my left, on one side of the jette, the Merrimack River, one of New England’s two integral rivers, opens itself out to be embraced and absorbed by the Atlantic Ocean, which rages on the right side of the jette and out in all forward-facing directions to the horizon. At that horizon, the sea intersects with the sky, the waters above and waters below of the Genesis story. Right in front of me, beneath the rough pounding of the jubilant spring waves, the great ocean meets the great continent.

I know God is here. He is everywhere, here. This is the Hebrew YHWH, and it is also the Hebrew El. This is the Aramaic Alaha and the Arabic Allah. We call Him a ‘He’, but this is not a bearded man in the sky. This is the being we know formed at the juncture of the Mother Earth and Father Sky (Gaia and Saturn), the dual opposites transcended into One. Here is the Great Spirit, Great Mystery of certain indigenous groups.

I know the Divine is here. I know it not because of my faith, which is typically shaky at best, but because all the magnificent intersections in front of me make the Divine easy to see. That’s right, I know it’s there because I can see it – not with my eyes, but with all of the other ways in which we can see things sometimes.

Now is not a moment of prostration or of ostentatious humility or half-sincere, over-the-top worship-flattery. This isn’t a guy “up there” revealing himself in all his terrifying and awful glory to a weirdo in a suit “down here.” God is just here in this place, and we don’t have to tip-toe around each other or engage and prescribed procedure or even make a big deal out of anything. I’m here, and so is God. It’s as though we nod at one another and say “Hey” while the dogs run free below and the high tide waves continue to crash. Nothing to exaggerate, nothing to blow out of proportion. It all just is.

Nice day.

Yet in such moments of spontaneous solace and eccentric harmony, especially at such holiness-filled points of juncture, it is also easier to see other true things. For one, there is nothing significant that makes this day so different from any other – sun rising, sun setting, bunch of stuff in between. For another, I know well but can’t ignore that, much as I may love this specific place, on this high-flying bench, there is objectively nothing to differentiate this place from any other. Not as far as God is concerned. The intersections of God are infinite, they are everywhere, in all places.

I know these things to be true, and it has almost nothing to do with my weak and shaky faith. It comes from what I see and what I understand and what can be obvious to anyone who chooses to look and perceive in a certain way. But in the face of stark contradiction, even my non-faith is known to be shaken. You see, all of this truth and holiness is boldly challenged by the place I’d normally be on this day and hour, if not for personal days and court dates.

Truly I say unto you: we expel the divine and reject the truth at our own peril.

Of course, the fence isn’t just to keep Jesus out. Not just Jesus, not just Mohammad. Not just Yahweh above, or Buddha down here. Lao Tsu is not acknowledged here, and the door is not opened for the respective pantheons of India, Greece, Rome, the Celts, or the Norse. Signs are posted, the kind of signs our eyes can’t see, that dissuade the approach of the Great Spirit, Father Sky, and Mother Earth. On the wall by the reception desk, they keep photocopied pictures of Rumi and Osho on the wall in case they try and sneak in. The only ones with a shot of making it through are Zoroaster and Baha’u’llah, but that’s only because no one knows who they are.

This is the office, and we don’t want their kind here. We aren’t actually criminals, here. We’re not investment bankers or low-wage prison guards or sweatshop facilitators or a diamond cartel. We just wholesale retail products, buying truckloads to store in warehouses and sell to retailers. A classic middleman operation, to be sure, but it could also be said to be benign capitalism at its finest. My job isn’t malevolent. To summarize it in a sentence, I am to avoid running out of product and avoid having too much product. You can find a simple eastern mystical sort of meaning in that, to be perfectly fair.

Simplicity devoid of spirit is cardboard set aside for the burning.

Revelation tells of the 144,000 sheep, but here, where we only have 342, we are easily forgotten. That’s 342 people in 342 tiny three-foot cubicles scattered across the landscape of one long, wide cattle pen of a room. Above us, lining the ceiling, are the kind of massive iron pipes that usually like to live out of sight, and from them hang the domed lights that silently buzz a kind of death at us as they rain down a light seemingly cleansed of all light’s redeeming qualities. 342 is not as big of a deal as 144,000, but we aren’t the only ones in this land penned into corrals by little aluminum and felt dividers, packed together and encircled on three sides by the offices of those In Charge. We’re just the only ones in this office. 342 good, worthy sheep grazing in a pasture into which entry is denied to all shepherds. Not a shepherd in sight. Plenty of managers, though. Managers and directors to ensure effective motivation and ever-increased productivity. Managers and directors and vice presidents to save us from ourselves.

This is the office. All office work is weird, and all office people are weird, and the only people who really understand it are the people who live through it.

Does this mean Jesus and Moses and Amos can’t understand it, having never been allowed in? Hopefully, it doesn’t matter, but I suspect it does.

The assumption that it’s secularization that keeps the holy out of this place is an easy mistake to make, because most don’t realize that this place isn’t secular. There’s an official and compulsory religion here, and part of the religion is that nobody is allowed to call it that. The god here is not Mammon, that familiar greedy golden calf. That would be dangerous for the managers and directors, who serve as substitutes for a priestly class. How would they ever be able to handle 342 howling hyenas red-eyed with all-consuming greed. No, the idol before us is a more cunning and nebulous god, and his name is Work. The reason we awaken in the morning is Work and the rest we are able to claim for ourselves on nights and weekends is for the purpose of rejuvenating us enough for the Work to come. The goal is for us to be Productive Workers, the highest possible virtue, especially when we are known to be lucky, so lucky, to even be able to Work at all in such lean times as these. It’s a privilege. To some, it is a sacrament.

To be a faithful follower of Work, one does not do one’s task and be satisfied. There must be more tasks, because Work is the kind of god who’s entertained by a circus and competition, and supremely entertained when the circus is a competition.

“In the house of their god they drink wine bought with fines they imposed.”
Amos 2:8 (NRSV)

They dole out information and rig the game so that we are cut off from one another in what we imagine to be a zero-sum setup, but they also make us disjointed internally with forced self-competition. No success is sufficient, there is no sufficient, there is only continued improvement. Continued growth. The graven golden Work is a ravenous kind of god and only occasionally will he demand a sacrifice, a termination which will be carried out with calculated and terrifying public ritual and spectacle. There’s no blood, but it’s just like something Mel Gibson might come up with.

If the prophet is killed by flying rocks, who will remain to speak the words of the true God?

Work is demanding. Work is jealous. Work permits no other gods before him. Those who do not put on the show and worship Work in the office are castigated pariahs until they depart in one way or the other. Those outside the office who do not put on the show and worship Work are dangerous heathens mooching off of our suffering, and shouldn’t they suffer if we have to? Shouldn’t everybody be sweating? Isn’t life hard, and centered on laboring?

And like all gods, Work has his favorites. Some people, he just likes. Those people tend to do all right with everything. Other people, he tests with greater challenges, so to speak. They struggle and sputter and they make it, usually, but only when their existence is reduced to a perpetual sprint to avoid being left out in the cold when the barn door is closing. That’s how Work likes them to be.

“I brought you up out of the land of Egypt…and I raised up some of your children to be prophets.”
Amos 2:10,11 (NRSV)

Perhaps…perhaps there yet remains hope that the disguised child prophets have been able to sneak through the fence and walk among us in these times, and perhaps they will again be able to lead us out of our bondage.

Here I am, sitting by the shore in my suit and tie. I always wanted to be a revolutionary, some kind of urban subversive saboteur or rural guerilla setting up the seizure or destruction of the power apparatus. Sitting here by the shore in my suit and tie was not what I had in mind in the midst of those daydreams, and neither was the daily reality of the spirit-banished office.

But I have never strayed far from the heart-tugs and mind-pulls of sunshine and revolt, and sometimes, it’s as though I can hear the plants on my desk whispering and maybe laughing, laughing like the angels laughed when Herod failed to murder the baby Jesus.

“Therefore, because you trample on the poor and take from them levies of grain, you have built houses of hewn stone, but you shall not live in them; you have planted pleasant vineyards, but you shall not drink their wine.”
Amos 5:11 (NRSV)

I am the agent of the cloud-shrouded mountain, the messenger of the sea’s crashing waves, friend of the heavens. I am all of those things, and yet I have been allowed inside the fence.

I must not be killed by flying rocks before speaking the Word, but neither shall I waste the time I have been granted.

The kind of revolution that rises like a mythic dragon to battle the cold deity Work perhaps involves not guns and explosive fire. Perhaps what is required is a fierce motion in the opposite direction. Perhaps if I can be calm, if I can broadcast the right kind of energy, and if I do it without violating any of Work’s policies – avoiding open rebellion or insubordination – I can create a small pure light that can sit on my desk with my whispering, giggling plants, a growing light that Work can’t kill or even precisely pinpoint, because it’s subtle and distilled and can so easily be spread and hidden across the land.

If – and only if – I have that kind of light at my disposal, the light shall be for all people, and specifically for any of the 342 fellow sheep who might be sitting in darkness and isolation and need it.

“The time is surely coming, says the LORD, when the one who plows shall overtake the one who reaps, the trader of grapes the one who sows the seed; the mountains shall drip sweet wine, and the all the hills shall flow with it. I will restore the fortunes of my people.”
Amos 9: 13,14 (NRSV)

The words fall about me and everyone else like thunder in the early summer sky, and we can hear them with the right kind of ears and even see them with the right set of eyes. For whether I am killed by brutal stones or survive to 95, the fences of today shall be the bonfires of tomorrow. So, truly, says the Lord. 

 

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