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Activism or Love in Action?

I was an activist way before is was trendy. Today, an activist is:

“One who takes vigorous action or pursues involvement as a means of achieving political or other goals, sometimes by demonstrations, protests, etc.”

If you are taking action toward your cause or your goals, you’re an “activist.” It seems like everyone in America is an “activist” these days.

Except we’re not. America today is anything but active. In fact, we’re setting new records for our inactivity. Physical inactivity, overweight and obesity are overrunning us. While health organizations plead with us to do a measly 30 minutes of daily exercise, we’re rushing to get our fast food so we can hurry back into “action” at our desks and computers.

We are activists without the activity! Absent is the healthy activity that can heal us, help stabilize our blood sugar and moderate our mood swings.

What’s the opposite of activist, anyway? anti-activist? in-activist? Sounds like a disease or an over-the counter-medication. Nobody wants to be that!

No. We need to emerge from this pseudo-activism into full-fledged action. We are all activists. We were born that way. We’ve just let that sag a bit. We are meant to take action; it’s what our bodies were made for.

We need to be present, to march, or gather, to protest or counter-protest, to be there in person, to show up. We need to put our bodies on the line, any line. That’s the gift this generation’s version of activism has given us. Let your unique and singular voice be heard in person and in action – carry signs if you like. Connect with like-minded folks, as you like, but also with those of unlike mind. That is the nature of taking action.

We do this from the platform we build for ourselves – not a stage or a podium – but a solid place. A hillside of sorts, a village green, where grains of soil, layered day by day, watered by gentle rains, are held fast by the roots of newly greening grass and sapling chutes. What we plant, tend and nurture may one day grow to give shade there.

Without such a platform, erected and built painstakingly by the physical labor of love, we are just resounding gongs and clanging cymbals, echoing the words of others rather than thinking for ourselves and standing for what we believe in.

Have you seen this image?

wheelchair vet stands for flag

As the flag of America passes by, the only one standing is the man in a wheelchair. Perhaps he’s the only one who sees something worth standing for. 

Activism or love in action?

By all means, sit for the American flag if you must to express yourself, but if you do, please stand for something else that gives your protest meeting. Activism absent activity is worthless. We must define ourselves not by what we’re against but by what we’re for. And then … take action.

All in. Heart, soul, mind and strength. There is no such thing as believing in, without acting for. We are of one nature, not two. What we’ve been given, we’re meant to use.

I’m an activist. I was born that way.

So are you.

There’s been an explosion, but there is no bomb

I’m flattened,
literally, thrown to the ground
by the hand grenades being heaved in my land.

There’s been a bombing,
but there’s no shrapnel,
no visible debris,
just many, many injuries.

Bodies strewn everywhere,
writhing in pain.
Bandaging their wounds,
wrapping their torn limbs.
Some, sitting motionless on the cement,
with hands pressed to their ears,
cry, “Make it stop”
“Make it stop”

Can anyone see them?
I stumble and fall,
gashing my leg on the rocks,
fording the rubble,
trying to reach them.

Does anyone hear them?
Yelling! Screaming! Crying!
It doesn’t stop.
Oh, blessed silence,
where are you?
I would listen if you came.

I would read and listen,
for information, not ammunition.

I would ask and listen,
be inquisitive, not an inquisition.

I would speak and listen,
to those with whom I agree,
and to those with whom I differ.

I would seek out and listen,
for those with little life experience,
and those with much.

I would meet and listen,
face to face and full of attention,
delving for meaning, certain of purpose.

What is the world making of us?
that we have forgotten
how to listen to each other and
become numb to ourselves?

We are meant to make of this world!
to be creative forces
using our hands to hold and our hearts to unfold,
applying ourselves to build,
something of each other.

There’s been a bombing but no explosion.
The ringing in my ears
is the sound of deafening,
the tearing limb from limb
of innocent souls.

Dare we feel it deeply?
Let it hurt us enough
to make it stop?

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