Lately I've been having a nagging awareness hanging in the back of my head as I try to absorb so much of what's going wrong in our world today. The title of this post is a short summary of that, but the longer version is the awareness that our actions and inactions have long term consequences that we just might not be able to fix. The poet David Whyte talks often of the "fiercness" of life. I think this is part of what he means by that.
I guess that for most of my life I've been priviledged with the white upper middle class kind of thinking that says all problems have a solution. And in these days of instant everything - that solution better be quick in materializing.
But as I look at the incredibly complex mess we've made of things in Iraq and the Middle East in general, and as I contemplate the insideous effects of racism and poverty, and as I see the impending doom that is global warming, I realize that even if we had all the answers right now, solutions might be generations in the making. And its a total laugh to think we are only an election away from nirvana!!!
So, our task is twofold. Not only do we need to craft solutions to these problems. But we need to develop the patience it would take to give them time to take hold. Its at this point that I keep coming back to the words of Ruben Alvez on hope:
Let us plant dates even though those who plant them will never eat them. We must live by the love of what we will never see. This is the secret discipline. It is a refusal to let the creative act be dissolved away in immediate sense experience, and a stubborn commitment to the future of our grandchildren. Such disciplined love is what has given prophets, revolutionaires and saints the courage to die for the future they envisaged. They make their own bodies the seed of their highest hope.
I want to add that I in no way see Alvez saying we should have patience the way our leaders told the civil rights movement to have patience, or the way women were told the same thing in fighting for the vote. Its the kind of patience that says, "I'll lay down my life, knowing that my grandchildren will reap the rewards of my hopes." Now that's a fierce kind of living!!