Tenacity and Resilience

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For my country, and her friends everywhere:

I remember another November day, way back in 1963, when we were taken home early from elementary school to mourn the tragic loss of our beloved President, John F. Kennedy. I remember reeling, bewildered and scared to death as our seemingly invincible elders sobbed, temporarily paralyzed.

While we may have felt that we couldn’t go on, we did. Sure, keeping on led us through more unspeakable tragedies–the assassinations of our beloved Bobby Kennedy and beloved Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the Vietnam war–and keeping on also led us to the realization of the expansive dreams and lofty goals our heroes had championed, reflecting our better selves: the Civil Rights Act of 1964; the Voting Rights Act of 1965; Title IX and women entering the paid work force in unprecedented numbers; people landing on the moon, the election of our first black President and on and on.

Today, I am reminded of how great we have been, how great we are and how great we can be. And so, for me: tenacity; fierce expansiveness, and abundant kindness! LOVE 

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4 Responses to Tenacity and Resilience

  1. It’s funny how we can all go through the same things/times and see them so differently. No one I know cried when Kennedy was shot. People felt bad and we were shocked, but I never saw any tears for him, Bobby or for Martin. We understood that people who try to make a positive difference are killed, usually by our own government. We were already used to the Black Panthers being murdered and lots of other terrible things. Maybe it’s where we live. I don’t know. We fought against the Viet Nam war. Again, our people died in a war our government would not allow us to win. Guys came home crazy, broken and sick. They hid in the woods and set booby traps around their tents. They died from Agent Orange and the government refused to take responsibility for making them sick, for killing them. Finally, after much fighting they did something. We fought for women’s rights, for Title IX. We went door to door, for the ERA, we got petitions signed, Marched in Springfield, in Washington, we never stopped. We handed out leaflets, lectured, spoke out, we did everything we could, but our governor lied and when it came time to vote, he voted against us, after giving us his word that the was on our side. We watched women go on hunger strikes, so weak from starvation, they were in wheel chairs, being STUCK WITH NEEDLES AND PINS BY THE RIGHT WING REPUBLICAN CONSERVATIVES during rallies. We fought, we were arrested, for choice. We stood up to the Natzi’s on the steps of City Hall in the suburbs. We were hit with metal signs by The Conservative Right Wing Republicans, who used their small children as shields, while the police did nothing because a local church told them not too. We made such a stink over that that we went back again and they were all over the place protecting us. We were constantly interviewed and in the papers for what was happening. I carried the telephone numbers of all the people at the newspapers so they could know what was happening immediately. The papers were mostly on our side. During our trial they made the legal system look like idiots.

    So while you write so beautifully and your have such a lovely picture of a rainbow, we were in court, before a judge. LOL We were hit, screamed at, in the streets, fighting all the time. Your writing is lovely, your photo, beautiful. It’s inspiring. Seriously. It’s quiet, serene and positive. My reality is quite different. My words, and the pictures I have, are of women being dragged down the street, tackled, handcuffed and put into police cars, because they were protecting clinics. My pictures won’t have the same effect. We were protecting clinics in rain, sleet, snow and heat. Trying to keep women who needed health care, safe. That what I was doing at the time. My daughter was with me. That’s how those times were for us. I never saw a rainbow. Not once.

  2. I am feeling exhausted. I am seventy and have worked my whole life for peace and justice. I just right now don’t know what more I can do.
    This feeling will pass, I hope. But I am retired. I had hoped to relax a bit more not have to jump into the fray with the energy of a twenty year old.
    I fear for my minority friends. I fear for Roe V. Wade. I fear for Planned Parenthood, my primary care center for many, many years. I fear for my Social Security. And oh, so,much more.
    I am trying to breathe.
    Soon I will be meeting with others here and we will start talking strategy. I may have to go camp out in D.C. I just don’t know.

    • SirenaTales says:

      Thank you for being here and commenting, Emilie. I thought of you today when a friend brought this quote to my attention:

      “…In any dark time, there is a tendency to veer toward fainting over how much is wrong or unmended in the world. Do not focus on that…Ours is not the task of fixing the entire world all at once, but of stretching out to mend the part of the world that is within our reach. Any small, calm thing that one soul can do to help another soul, to assist some portion of this poor suffering world, will help immensely….”~Clarissa Pinkola Estes ❤

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