Early this morning, I was doing some work for a project for which I've been hired to help. The hiring body is the Justice and Witness Ministries of the United Church of Christ. The large topic for this project is social justice.
I found myself in tears at one point, after watching part of Bill Moyer's keynote speech to the General Synod gathering of my denomination in 2007. After citing statistics about how wealth has been redistributed in our nation over the past 30 years, he used the following analogy. It's as if you invited 100 people over for pie, and you cut the pie into 5 pieces. You give 4 of the pieces to one person, and the 99 left get one piece. No wonder they fight over it. Now, mind, you, this speech pre-dated "Occupy Wall Street" and the 99% movement by a few years.....
I struggle with all of this. I am a person with privilege, after all. I didn't know what to do with all my guilt. How can anyone do enough to make the world a just place, when there are so many people working against it? People who work against equality and rights for the poor and minorities and do so in the name of their God and their Jesus, even.
So, I took my middle class white educated married self in my Prius to Yoga class.
It was muggy. So muggy my instructor joked about being in "hot enough yoga" today. I breathed. I stretched. I brought myself back to the present many times during that 75 minutes, as my mind wandered to "not enough not enough not enough" and the dichotomy of the Supreme Court striking down the Defense of Marriage Act and Proposition 8 (yea!) with their striking down part of the Voting Rights Act (what??!) within 24 hours of each other. Breathe. Stretch.
What happened is what usually happens in yoga. I became more present. I relaxed. My body adjusted itself--little mini pops and cracks and easing things back into where they needed to go. No major aha's. No dramatic healing. And yet.
Isn't that what life and progress are usually about? Steps forward. Steps backward. More steps forward. Re-educating our body-- our body of government, our body of culture, our body of Christ--about what is in alignment. Keeping on doing what is the next thing and trusting it will lead us where we need to go next. Supporting ourselves and each other along the way so we don't get hurt. Resting when we need to. Taking time to breathe, sit with what we have done, reflect, and breathe some more. Holding our vision for justice and peace, and then staying present and doing what is next for us today.
I came home. I let the dog out. I drank water, took my vitamins, took a shower. I ate lunch. I drank more water. And I continued to breathe.
I don't know exactly what is next for our country. I do know I will be marching Sunday in the PRIDE Parade in Seattle, rejoicing with fellow progressive Christians about our victory for marriage equality this past year, and the striking down of DOMA. I do know I will continue to prepare for creating a social justice resource for parents with the United Church of Christ. I will keep breathing. And I will continue to do my best to be a witness for those in need.