nonviolence in action!

July 19, 2009

My friend, Cassie, went to the Episcopal General Convention last weekend. She told me this story (third hand, so this is basically the gist of it) and i LOVE how it shows the creativity, grace and beauty of nonviolence in action.

Apparently Gene Robinson, one of the first openly gay Episcopal bishops, spoke at the convention. Outside the hall protesters held up signs and chanted about the ‘immorality’ of homosexuality. Most people simply ignored them, but one woman decided to take on the protesters in a beautiful and graceful way: she asked the crowd to “sponsor a protester” with the money going to something like overturning Prop 8 or AIDS research.

She raised her voice and asked people to donate, make a pledge, whatever! And what could the protesters do? They could stay — but their presence was now being used to support a cause they had not intended. Or they could abandon their protest, and leave the convention-goers in peace. Such is the beauty of nonviolence — facing head on the hateful bigotry of the protesters and twirling, moving, restoring it, to make the world better.

By the end, the group gathered around the protesters began to sing “Jesus loves me” — those beautiful simple words lifting up the dignity of all people, and, i would assume, exposing the shame of the protester’s hatred.

Amen! Thank you Jesus for showing us this ‘third way’!!! Let’s sing a little “Jesus loves me” today! 🙂


thanks ccdsd & hhsa

June 26, 2009

just went out to dinner with an old co-worker, Amy. She is about 60 years old, a former nun and Catholic lesbian. She was always one of my favorite people at Catholic Charities. One thing I remembered about her as we looked over the menu at this great little hole-in-the-wall mexican restaurant is that she loooooves beef. 🙂

we had this great discussion about the paradox of life — her motto, she said, was something like, “everything changes, nothing lasts; and everything changes so things can last.”

we have both been going through similar transitions lately and it was awesome to share the perspective of sadness and mourning along with the hope and anticipation of what change can bring.

We talked about how we can have faith that even in those moments of hell, there can be a purpose — we just have to give it time, respect the process, and be open to what we can learn.

We laughed about how our re-connection occured over a work related matter — the County Food Stamp Office had erroneously denied one of her program participants Food Stamps, so she got in touch with me to help sort it out… so out of that frustration (although it is much more frustrating for the participant, I’m sure) we were able to connect have have such a great time together… And as nutty as Catholic Charities can be, I’m grateful for the amazing people i have the privilege to know who keep it going each day.

good times

June 24, 2009

Ever have one of those moments where you’re just ‘in it’ — like you’re in the vortex of all the good things life has to offer? The Indigo Girls have some lyrics in their song “all that we let in” — planets whirling, atoms splitting, and a sweater for your love you sit there knitting — i love that somehow the small act of knitting a sweater for someone is easily in league with the miracle of atomic process and the grandiousness of the universe.

Sunday nights i’ve been going to Tom & Larry’s for a potluck and planning the neighborhood float for the pride parade. We ate, had a short meeting, and got to work on our banners. I sat with my back to everyone, stitching up the edge of the banners on the sewing machine; most folks were behind me cutting out stencils, cracking jokes (lots of double entendre!); there was good music playing and i was singing along… I’m sure the glass or two of wine I’d had was a contributing factor as well, but I got this great sense of peace and happiness: I was with my cool new neighbors, we’d had good food (and people loved what I had brought), and we were working together on a project that I am really excited about and represents my values… it was so great… i just took it all in for a moment… imagined all those planets way up in the sky, and all the atoms doing their thing, right as we all sat on the back patio in the dwindling sunlight with our scissors and smiles…

one of the main things i miss about living in basileia is the problem solving capacity of a group of awesome somewhat like-minded yet totally different people. It is such an encouragement to not face problems alone. One can bring a problem to the group, have them help break it down to find a solution, and then breakdown that solution to manageable steps and help make it happen. I am thankful I had that and I wish I still did, especially right now:

Most of you know my friend Sarah Mark and her 6 kids.  I just found out the other day that in at least one of the kids’ rooms they have BED BUGS.  I don’t know much about bed bugs except that once they are in your furniture you basically have to throw it out (unless you have a giant deep freeze to kill them), and they can be really difficult to fully eliminate.

Sarah has no money (her 5 year limit for welfare is up — thank you bill clinton and the republican congress of the 90s), and she has had a really hard time finding a job (due to the current economic crisis — thank you george bush and the current republican congress).

Part of me wants to just not get involved at all:  it’s an overwhelming problem, it will cost money (i don’t have much to spare either), it is scary (what if WE get bed bugs?!?!), and it will take some time to figure out and deal with…   But not getting involved isn’t really an option: her poor sweet kids have bite marks all over their arms and legs.

So I guess this is where I’m hoping my new blog community will help me out — any ideas on the bed bug problem? Know of anyone who is getting rid of a new or gently used twin sized mattress (at least 3 of them are needed)? Wanna volunteer to help me and Sarah tackle the bed bug problems once we come up with a plan? If nothing else, just send me some encouragement!! 🙂

UPDATE: Just talked to Sarah and it sounds like she might have found something to get rid of them — without having to buy new mattresses. I also did some research and found a few other solutions in case they make a come back. Whew! At the very least, being able to share this helped motivate me a little (I had to be able to give a positive update to this post!). 🙂