October 18, 2011
“Sometimes I have to make a simple, straightforward effort to do [the small thing I can do] so I will feel less like a screen door banging in a hurricane.” Barbara Kingsolver—Small Wonder
Too often these days I feel like “a screen door banging in a hurricane”. Some days that storm is raging across the pages in my email as one news source after another reports in on the ways we are tearing apart the world. My eyes, blurry with tears, I look out at the peaceful neighborhood where my house stands and don’t know what I can do. What I am willing to do. What I can afford to do. A screen door banging in the hurricane.
Sucked open by the black and furious winds—slammed back against the wall—leaving the room inside unprotected from the ripping rain and wind. Slammed shut again, trying to stand between that seething rage and the still inside. Blown back again against the wall—slapped and slammed—shaken insensible, of no use to anyone.
How many of us have been shaken insensible by the onslaught of information alerting us to the consequences now upon us of our ignorance and apathy, our self-absorption and our greed. We feel like so many little sticks being carried downstream in a river running wild. Helpless, powerless. Only now is the truth dawning on us that when enough of those small sticks collect in the same place, they create a dam that can hold back even the river.
Others of us cannot take it in, this stark and terrible truth of the crimes of our own government and the destruction of our planet—not just a small corner of it, the whole damn thing—by the insatiable corporate machine. Our filmmakers and writers try desperately to wake us up—but some cannot wake up—it is too frightening a prospect. And so they view these prophecies as interesting entertainment and go like lambs to slaughter, accusing those who would try to wrench them from the wolf’s jaws of being in league with devils.
Others of us are wide awake indeed, but afraid and confused and uncertain how to help. Some of us don’t know how to help—or feel we cannot because our time and energy are consumed trying to just keep the roof over our children’s heads and food on the table. Some of us are so rooted in the lifestyle that contributes to all the destruction, we have no idea how to change things.
Today the storm rages through the life of my child, stripping her of everything she’s hoped and worked for. Relentless, the storm has caught up to her; she can no longer hide from or outrun all that she has feared. She is being called out—to step right into the center and stand firmly in the Truth that she knows. The furious storm will not be denied or it will devour her.
As a mother I can see the lesson playing out in her life. But standing by, just watching, nodding my encouragement—I feel like the screen door banging in the hurricane. Yet, I am comforted by knowing that sometimes the most important contribution we can make to save our child, and the world, is to do our own work first—to do whatever we need to do in order to allow ourselves to show up with hearts and minds filled with love and with joy and with hope and with light. And from this vantage point, we will know what next to do, and we will build the road while walking.