This is a dreary day. As far as I am concerned, it is an active crime scene, because we wuz robbed. Robbed of promised snow. This is rain – plain, ordinary, dreary, damp rain. This is not snow. I have seen snow before, and this is not it. I want my snow!

Yes, I understand that life is unfair. It is my lifelong hope that somewhere in the much larger scheme of the Universe, there is justice, there is equity, there is an overall sense of fairness. I would imagine that without unfairness, we’d never know what fair looked like…and so on. But when it’s unfair in the sum total of my experience, it’s REALLY unfair, and I’m generally not too concerned with other corners of existence where unfairness might be occurring. It’s all about me right this minute, so whether it’s about not getting snow (not because I need it, obviously, but only because I want it and for no particularly salient purpose). I suppose that’s how we roll, as humans.

This is probably more than a single post, but I am having more than than a single post-worth of thoughts. Sue me. You won’t get much if you do, but everybody is welcome to try. Most of all me. I have to remember that I’m welcome to try. We’ll see how that goes, but…as usual…I digress.

My community of faith, which I like to call the un-church, had virtual service this morning featuring a very good friend of mine. She is a recently ordained UU minister, and the director of the state UU Justice Ministry. She’s got such an optimistic lean, and in her words, she is generally a happy person. I don’t know that many generally happy people these days; life gets in the way, stress bogs us down, we struggle to stay on our path. But this woman is a veritable sprite of hopefulness, cheerfulness, helpfulness, compassion. She is one of those people who is doing what she was meant to do, I believe. Unlike some other leaders, she has original vision, and that vision includes bringing as many people together as she can find. Community is not a casual word, and my minister friend is adept at bringing people together in community rather than as a group that simply believes they share a common self-interest. There is more to community than that. As a leader, her ego is tremendously disengaged, and she is very obviously invested in communal success. That is the life blood of a movement, in my opinion, and she was speaking of movement in the literal, spiritual, and even political sense.

I have been obsessed with spiritual movement as a necessary component of justice work for quite some time, and it frustrates me when so many would much rather get right to the manual tasks of justice, the marching and the logistics of the marches and the fund raising and the banners and the phone banking, without attending to grounding the effort spiritually. I believe that grounding has to be a factor both collectively and individually. Otherwise, we could all do the work as solitary practitioners, without joining any group. That would simply be less effective, so…let’s make sure we’re standing on firm ground from which to move forward. We cannot stay there. There must be forward motion, and that is why we call concerted resistance a MOVEMENT. We have to move. If we do not, whatever is advancing from the rear will soon overtake us, the winds of change will pass us by, and we will sleep through the revolution. If we remain in the same place, resting on our laurels or paralyzed with fear, we are no longer a movement. We are a memorial, a memory of a bygone time. We have to move. That is Universal law; there is nothing that stands permanently at rest, no matter how slow its movement. So, I was very pleased and felt at peace, spiritually nourished from my friend’s presentation this morning. This has not been my usual experience on Sunday mornings with this crowd, so I’m going to need to hold on to that. I truly hope they heard what I heard, felt what I felt, and will hold on to it as well. We got us a world to change.

As I’m continuing to reflect on another level on the presentation this morning (most would call it a sermon, or “preaching”, but I’m Catholic-raised so those are not terms that easily roll from my tongue, or keyboard), I recall that earlier in the morning I was far more tense, taut, needing to get things done. Things I needed to get done included making coffee (ok, that’s a legitimate priority), going to the bathroom (another legitimate task), checking Twitter, checking FaceBook, making sure I had made progress in my FaceBook game, wondering how and why I still have made so little progress in cleaning up this hell-hole of an apartment, wondering what the hell I did with my baseball cap, thinking I should take the dog out before I connect to the morning uun-church service, searching for one of my medications (which I found but still have not taken), and trying to decide what I am going to eat for lunch. For. Lunch. It was 9:50 a.m. at that point, and I’m contemplating a lunch-time meal.

Such is the life of a compulsive eater. It is also the life of someone who has more than likely underestimated the nooks and crannies of her brain, and how those have changed over more than a half-century. Truth be told, I have suspected for a number of years that I have what is now diagnosed as ADD, but really don’t want or need another diagnosis to explain away any of my defining quirkiness. If that is true, it would inform my choices of how to remain productive and hopefully relevant. I am never going to function well in a corporate or overly bureaucratic environment ever again, nor do I want to. To have functioned there for as long as I did is truly a testimony to oppositional defiance and obstinacy, character attributes (defects, some might say) that have served me well. They served me for as long as I needed them to do so, but I feel as though I am now propelled toward a different way of being in the world, one in which I may have no further need to resist in those ways. But, who will I be? How will I be? What will I do? These are the fear-based crossroads I come to periodically, and usually opt for maintaining a personal status quo. As I like to explain it, I need to know where I’m going before I get there, and once I get there I need to know where all the bathrooms are. Once those points have been established, I’m good for the duration. No need to travel further, right?

There may be no need to travel further, or at least I may think so, but sometimes the road rises up to meet a traveler, and smacks them in the back of the head (at least metaphorically). I realized a while back that ritual and routine are comfortable for a time, but at some point become restrictive, mundane, flat out boring. Boring does not inspire me. Boring does not stimulate me creatively. Boring makes me cranky, and it becomes drudgery very quickly. Somewhere in my core values I have accepted that having alternatives to boring is not an entitlement. Not something I have any right to expect or even receive. I suppose I saw everyone around me getting up every morning to make the donuts, grumbling but complying, day after day after day. This was the working class life I was born into. Living that way demonstrated the maximum attainment and demonstration of responsibility, and seemingly garnered respect from everyone. Work hard, swallow your pride, don’t talk back, do what you’re told, keep your opinions to yourself…you’ll be rewarded in the end. Yeah, I got that – in the end. MY end, right between the butt cheeks.

There are no more 30-years-and-a monthly-check guarantees; that’s been gone for a while now. Joke is on me if I think toiling away to make “the man” successful is going to get me any kind of security later in life. But wait a minute! This IS later in life, and I have a goose egg for security later in life. There is not going to be any monthly pension check, or life insurance, or even health insurance from my previous employers. I paid into Social Security for years, but these days it’s not clear whether or not that system will be able to return my investment within the next few years. So, it’s no wonder I feel as though my back is against the wall when I have idle time. It’s no wonder we’re all looking over our shoulders wondering when the ax is going to fall, the other shoe is going to drop, lightening is going to strike, or a rogue asteroid is going to finally take a wrong turn. Now personally, I’m not feeling particularly threatened by the possibility of axes or shoes falling, or lightening striking, or even asteroids crashing into the Earth…but arrival of a mother ship from another galaxy? Now we’re talkin’. That would upset some white supremacy and turn status-quo upside down. Wouldn’t THAT be somethin’?

As I am writing all that drivel, I’m wondering what exactly it is that I want. I have been asking that question about the insurgents, and the radical right-wing extremists – what exactly do they want, other than …not this?. I suppose I would do well to ask myself the same question. I am doing what I can to change status quo in my little corner of the world, and speaking up about why that needs to be changed and how there is essentially no equity for marginalized communities, but … exactly what do I want? Can I draw a picture of it? (I guarantee you I cannot draw a picture of it, because I cannot even draw recognizable stick figures, and then…back to those circles that I couldn’t seem to master in kindergarten) Anyway, I am beginning to wonder if I do myself a disservice without a vision that I can articulate, at least in some actionable fashion, with definable goals, objectives. Something concrete. Something beyond “an end to racial bias and we should all live in peace”. I’m told that I should be the change I want to see, but that is gonna take a minute. I don’t need to be about the business of creating yet another linear project plan, but I DO need to know what the broken things might look like if they were fixed. There. I’ll get right on that.

Wherever you go, I go.

Published by annzimmerman

I am Louisiana born and bred, now living in Winston Salem, North Carolina. Fortunately for me, I was already living in NC before Hurricane Katrina decimated my beloved New Orleans. An only child, I now feel that I have no personal history since the hurricane destroyed the relics and artifacts of my childhood. As I have always heard, c'est la vie. My Louisiana roots show in my love of good coffee, good food, and good music. My soggy native soil has also shown me that resilience is hard-wired in my consciousness; when the chips are down (or drowned)...bring it on.

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