"She told me the secret...what made them so fine, mother after daughter after grandaughter, all the way down the line."On this first day of the new year, I am once again reminded of the wisdom in that analogy. Polly was conveying a message that went far beyond weaving and even the art of physical healing. She was talking about soul-healing - which is a necessary ingredient to liberation. If we ever want to rise above our current situation, we have to be able take our eyes off of the current struggle of the tangle and be able to see the weave.
"What was it Polly?"
"She say, the difference in weavers is, some see the tangle and others see the weave. The ones that can't take their eyes off the tangle, they never rise above it."
Perhaps it shouldn't come as a surprise that a woman who had lived her life in slavery is the one who could pass on that kind of wisdom. In one of the more ironic twists of the human condition, it does seem that the deeper the struggle, the more people tend to focus on the weave. Here's how Clay Claiborne addresses that.
For someone sitting on the very edge of survival, hope is extremely important. Often it is only hope, sometimes even false hope, that allows him to make it to the next day... Cynicism is deadly for someone on the edge of survival. Even in the darkest night, he cannot afford to be cynical. That cynicism just might push him over the edge.What got me thinking about all that are the much more mundane events we are witnessing today as Congress works on a deal to forestall the so-called "fiscal cliff." What we're seeing once again is that some progressives are addicted to their focus on the tangle of where the ceiling was set for an increase in taxes - while they miss the weave of recognizing that this is the first time in 20 years that Republicans in the Senate have voted overwhelmingly for a tax increase. To those living on the edge of survival, that kind of privileged cynicism is unthinkable. If this deal passes the House, they just avoided a potential tax increase, have seen their unemployment insurance extended, and will still have access to things like child tax credits and/or college tuition tax credits.
Cynicism is a privilege. When practiced by those in a position to do it well, cynicism allows them to criticize the oppressor and sympathize with the oppressed without ever having to move out of their comfort zone.
After four years of witnessing this kind of poutrage coming from a contingent on the left, Polly Shine's words throw some light on the problem...due to their focus on the tangle, they'll never rise above it.
I myself have trouble quelling the hope that some day these folks will finally be able to see the weave. Every time President Obama and the Democrats move the ball a few inches farther down the field (to switch metaphors...sorry), I hope that finally they will wake up to the fact that we are all slowly rising out of the bondage of the Reagan revolution. But they literally can't see it...because they are so focused on the tangle.
So bear with me as I struggle with that hope. One thing you can count on...I'll keep my eye on the weave.