Who do we want to become— as soulful people, as a community, and as a country? How do we keep our minds and hearts moving toward healing, compassion, and justice when it’s so easy to despair over loss and cruelty? What listening and what learning will best shape our responses? When and how are we called to speak up, so our voices serve well in a larger movement?
My latest art is one response to questions like these. But I felt shy about sharing the painting just as two luminaries from the Civil Rights movement passed away. My wife and I were grieving a hero, US Representative John Lewis, and learning about another, CT Vivian. Then I saw this wonderful video highlighting the voice of John Lewis and other current leaders who hold a steadfast vision for “redeeming the soul of America, and moving closer to a community at peace with itself.” I felt a kindred connection between their guidance and the new art, Called Into Wisdom. I knew it was time to post them both.
Take in 5 minutes of that inspiration:
“Last month I felt such a personal call to actively imagine the world I wish we were creating together. Some days I wanted to despair hearing the news, dealing with the reality of COVID19 and its impact, and learning more about my part in our white supremacy culture. But other days, I heard excited stories of hope from friends in social justice work who are growing the movements for positive change. They see more and more of us noticing and honoring their years-long, slow and dedicated work to imagine new policies, new collaborations, and new ways to include, support, and love each other and the planet. They're inspiring me to choose to dream into what can be.”
See how I felt connected to the dedication and hope in the John Lewis video? He says, “We’re going to get there. It’s all going to work out. But we must help it work out.”
My friend Andrea Montaño wrote a beautiful reflection about the art on the Brave Joy Collective website:
"I'm contemplating this idea that my original seedling self is still within me, like the image portrays, with always fresh potential to grow and mature in new and even surprising ways and oftentimes right along with the current season or other times even daring to dispute the current season. The art calls me to sit with my unmarred seedling-self and to imagine possibilities, even wild ones, and to listen further about which to nurture and which to simply wonder about.
“…Another thought I had several days later: A tree stands in its fullness and beauty regardless who notices.”
Powerful reflections, aren’t they? Thank you, Andrea, for the permission to share them. I need the reminders that I am already empowered from within to imagine and to respond.
Let’s keep imagining and shaping the world we want to live in, so we’re growing into those changes even as things fall apart. Seeds and saplings grow strong and steady when they are called by the fullness of the tree they are already becoming.
With hopeful blessing,