When Uncertainty is the Only Certainty

Taking a stand and taking action is what we, as activists, do. We all have experience with fighting for causes in our towns, state and even on a national level where people have come together over issues of common concern and pooled our creative talents to figure out ways to make a difference. Our collective successes are motivating, strengthening, heartening. But there are issues facing us now on a global scale that defy reason or our ability to fathom the depth of violence, hatred or potential for destruction that they bring. Israel/Palestine and Russia/Ukraine are just two examples. Sadly, there are so many more.

I am sometimes envious of those who have a clear, black and white vision of who is right vs. who is wrong, who is the perpetrator vs. who is the victim, who represents the world’s hope vs. who is an evil that must be eliminated. Indeed, that certainty of position is what often moves us to action but those of us who are still trying to make sense of it all can get stuck in a place where taking sides is impossible because even a small perspective from the “other” keeps us questioning. I recently re-read a book entitled Who Owns History by Eric Foner. Mr. Foner talks about perspective and how it influences one’s view and determination of those things just mentioned. Events around the world affect all of us. Whether governments remain neutral or intervene in events taking place halfway around the world, each decision becomes a link in a chain of unforeseen consequences. If ever there was a time to be able to see into the future, this surely is one but sadly, that is not possible.

As an activist, I want to determine my positions, share my perspective in hopes of influencing others and then determine actions I can take to correct what I deem wrong. I see my job as being an active participant in not only bringing injustice to light but then involving myself and hopefully motivating others to work toward a solution. That is only possible with clarification and certainty of where I stand and lately that certainty eludes me. For this I weep as surely as I weep for the lives being torn apart across the globe.
As a human being whose heart is breaking for every act of aggression, violence, blind allegiance to any particular dogma, I want to shout “STOP!” in a way that could actually make that happen. I weep as well for the fact that such a possibility is merely the stuff of dreams.

I long for a time when people and governments will begin to ask WHY questions. Why do “they” hate “us”? Why are “we” afraid of “them”? Why have we all allowed human relations to evolve as they have? Why is it so impossible for warring groups to stop hostilities long enough to literally sit down, break bread and actually know each other? I can hear the predicted responses from many in my circle of family of friends, responses from both sides of any of the conflicts we choose to talk about. Some will respond with outrage that I might consider the “other” side. Some will call me naïve and useless. It is the second of these possible reactions that most troubles me because it is a possibility that I fear may be true. I keep thinking of John Lennon’s words in the song Imagine: “You may say I’m a dreamer…” Dan Fogelberg’s song There’s a Place in the World for a Gambler suggests: “There’s a light in the depths of the darkness. There’s a calm at the eye of every storm. There’s a light in the depths of the darkness. Let it shine, oh, let it shine!” Dear Goddess, let my activism take the form of daring to dream, to helping find a way to shine that light.

There is one more song I must share here because it speaks to the very heart of the matter. I hope readers will find some truth in its words and help those of us who feel stuck to believe that we are making a difference. The song is titled Swimming to the Other Side and was written by Pat Humphries. Please find a recording and listen if you can.

We are living ‘neath the great Big Dipper
We are washed by the very same rain
We are swimming in the stream together
Some in power and some in pain
We can worship this ground we walk on
Cherishing the beings that we live beside
Loving spirits will live forever
We’re all swimming to the other side

I am alone and I am searching
Hungering for answers in my time
I am balanced at the brink of wisdom
I’m impatient to receive a sign
I move forward with my senses open
Imperfection, it be my crime
In humility I will listen
We’re all swimming to the other side

On this journey through thoughts and feelings
Binding intuition, my head, my heart
I am gathering the tools together
I’m preparing to do my part
All of those who have come before me
Band together and be my guide
Loving lessons that I will follow
We’re all swimming to the other side

When we get there we will discover
All the gifts we’ve been given to share
Have been with us since life’s beginning
And we never noticed they were there
We can balance at the brink of wisdom
Never recognizing that we’ve arrived
Loving spirits will live together
We’re all swimming to the other side.

Blessings to all who are working for what I must believe is possible….

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2 Responses to When Uncertainty is the Only Certainty

  1. Lynn Woike says:

    Never heard that song before and the words are wonderful. I will go looking for a recording of it. I also want to say that as spiritual beings, getting above the conflict to see a bigger picture is more up our alley than for some others, so it’s important to do. To draw a circle large enough to include everyone and work from there. Don’t stop dreaming … rather, let’s dream it into reality together.

  2. lynnwoike says:

    Never heard that song before and the words are wonderful. I will go looking for a recording of it. I also want to say that as spiritual beings, getting above the conflict to see a bigger picture is more up our alley than for some others, so it’s important to do. To draw a circle large enough to include everyone and work from there. Don’t stop dreaming … rather, let’s dream it into reality together.

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