The morning after the United States Capitol in DC was breached by pro-Trumpian rioters, I woke up as if shaken by a bad dream. To be clear, this is a repeated nightmare that has been going on in this country for centuries and one that has been increasingly widespread in its visibility and violence in the past four years. But the images of destruction replaying in the news on January 6, paired with the rioters’ openly anti-Semitic messages, racist symbols and paramilitary tactics, were jolting to my core.
So when I checked my phone the next morning, I was afraid I’d find myself in an echo chamber of voices decrying but still replaying the events and images of the day before. Instead, I found a photo of an amaryllis I had sent my sister in December with this message: Look. On the day after our democracy somehow managed to survive an assault on our Capitol led by our President… still a flower braves emergence.
The image of the red blooms opening out with their beauty and vulnerability both, and their tall proclamation of nature’s claim on my heart, I found assurance. Not one part of the larger story unfolding in our nation’s heart was changed by that flower, but my own heart was. As I read my sister’s message and looked at the image of the flower, my whole body remembered that the story in the news is never the whole story. Each of us is a co-author of what comes next. Each of us can populate one another’s phones, inboxes, messages, hearts and minds with images of life, resilience, and power not based on hatred. Each of us can draw up what we need from our roots, wherever we are, and follow our own call to bud and bloom, braving emergence on this and every day – and encouraging others to do the same.
As Denise Levertov ended her poem, “Beginners”:
… there is too much broken
that must be mended,
too much hurt we have done to each other
that cannot yet be forgiven.
We have only begun to know
the power that is in us if we would join
our solitudes in the communion of struggle.
So much is unfolding that must
complete its gesture,
so much is in bud.
What is your part of our shared story that is now in bud, waiting to complete its gesture? What power within you might be discovered if you join your solitude with others’ in the communion of struggle? What is inside you – what new understanding, compassion, beauty, love and power that has been waiting to bloom – might now brave emergence in the chaos of this moment, as our shared story is opened anew? What images of life and resilience will help you keep your heart open now and in the days to come, and how can you share them generously with others?
If you want write about this, you might start with this prompt and follow wherever it leads: The new story emerging now …