When Less is More

Sometimes less is more.
Sometimes one is enough.
Sometimes the still small voice beckons from deep within.

And this too is very good.

The morning is quiet and I ponder what can be heard when the pace slows. I see the tree still barren even as the earth warms. I hear the rhythm of the washing machine as it cleans up the mess. I notice the anxiety that pops up from the still small space.

This anxiety is part of who I am. It is the energy that makes one drink too many and the bottle not enough. It is the insecurity that makes small talk painful. It is the frightened child who wants to be perfect, and perfectly quiet. This anxiety matters, so I listen this morning.

The world is scary now. In truth it has always been thus. The color of my skin and the situation of my birthing provided privilege that largely shielded me from the most potent portals of evil. But the seed, that fragile place deep inside me that is prey for the tap roots of evil, this is not eradicated with privilege. In fact it is nursed and nourished in places of privilege, my insecurity is the necessary hook for “imperialist white-supremacist capitalist patriarchy” (bell hooks) to thrive. And thrive it has.

The urgency of this time is clear, all hands on deck. Yet never have I felt more impotent than as I face the gravity of the evil that confronts us today. In that sentence I see the role that whiteness plays. Once upon a time, when I saw so much less but held the microphone, I felt powerful. Letting go of the microphone, I see so much more but now feel the powerlessness. Discovered, if one dares, is a place of humility, a recognition of limits; perhaps this can be a heart and mind more open to faithful next steps.

Prayer Vigil in Ferguson. Photo by dcarson@post-dispatch.com

Pausing to honor the breath, allowing the anxiety to release, the next right step that is mine will emerge. One tiny step at a time. For the tide to come, each molecule of water must yield to the movement of the whole. Yielding is perhaps the most important work of all.

Relinquishing that which has provided a faux sense of power (uniform, title, microphone, standing), allowing myself to feel the impotence and yet still breathe, this is the call. Here I discover, again and again, a power beyond my own in which I can trust with that scared little monster deep inside. Here she can finally come out and (wtf took so long!) grow up. Here there is healing and, god willing, release from the snares.

Feet firmly planted, anxiety acknowledged, let the footed prayers commence.