What do we do now that we have each other’s attention?

In poignant, peaceful, creative, dynamic conversations with friends near and far, colleagues, family, strangers….

Some of us have asked out loud, asked ourselves what do we do now, in this moment in our lives when many of us for one reason or another are emotionally, psychologically, physically, socially, politically vulnerable? When today’s news and current events are gripping, at times unbelievable. What do we do when our tongues are naked and our thoughts are bound by our pasts, when we’re heavily wrapped in the sensitive, the difficult to discuss human condition?

I imagine we can start with what many of us are already trying to do–talk to each other, sincerely, honestly, openly. We can look at each other, in and through the wrinkled brows, the distant eyes, the difference, the confusion, the busy of our days. We can open our mouths, even when what we have to say is difficult to hear out loud, even when our eyes well up with tears, even when our anger warms our cheeks, when we’d rather grit our teeth, when we don’t know what to say. We can relax. We can breathe. We can think before we speak, start with a smile, a grin, with eye contact, with hello. We can erase the silence that’s so easy to swell in. We can begin at the beginning.

Then what do we do next? For those of us without children, we can continue to raise ourselves, our awareness, our care. We can read, listen, write, create, think, imagine, do. For those of us with children, around children, we can read, listen, write, create, think, imagine, do. We can raise our children to contribute a narrative greater than the one we have imagined for ourselves. Those little ones, those innocent questions, those hopeful tongues will write their own possibilities etched over our past and present mistakes. We can give our children our beautiful failures and watch them live new legacies, take risks that we only dream of, risks our histories could not fathom. This morning, like many mornings I sat on the edge of my children’s beds. I traced their profiles with my index finger, kissed their warm cheeks and foreheads, drew their sleepy innocence, curiosity, hopefulness, into my reflection. We all start out as children. Then what?

So again I wonder out loud, what do we do now? As we continue to talk, think, change, stay the same, in our workplaces, at the dinner table, in the hallways at school, in our social settings, online, in and around the world. What will we do next? Today, everyday, we have a choice don’t we? I imagine we can’t accept doing what we perceive as right if it replaces, negates what is human, what is kind; if it steps on someone’s justice, if it swallows someone’s life. But we can walk in our action, with courage, and promise to leave this nation, this world a brighter note than the one playing in our ears right now.

I can hear it, can you?

The questions which one asks oneself begin, at least, to illuminate the world, and become one’s key to the experience of others.–James Baldwin

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Categories: Misc.

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