Sometimes, when it all gets to be too much — When all of the Trumps and the Lies and the Liars and the Roy Moores and the Defenders of Pedophilia and the Jerry Falwells and the Fake Christians and the Alabama Voters and the Seemingly Endless Racism and the Persistent Attacks on Morality & Basic Decency & Human Rights & Journalism & Science & Goodness & Beauty & Truth become too overwhelming for me, and I start to doubt if anything we do makes any bit of actual difference in the world, and I wonder whether or not I should get out of bed — Here is what I do:
I watch the movie Moana.
Well… That’s ONE of the things I sometimes do. But seriously — God help me, I love the movie Moana. So damn much. I could watch it whenever. It’s a spiritual thing for me. You don’t have to watch the whole movie (although the whole movie is obviously amazing). It can just be one scene… The one where Moana starts singing to the Lava Monster the prophetic words, “This is not who you are. You know who you are.” If you need a reminder of what that scene looks and sounds like, here you go.
Oh God, it makes me cry every single time. She speaks to the water, and she says, “Let her come to me.” And in a twist on familiar Biblical imagery, the sea parts… But this time, the sea is not parting to allow an escape route from the monsters who mean to do us harm. This time — THIS story — the sea is parted to allow them come toward each other… And allow the bravery and compassion and strength of a young woman to heal the heart of the one who didn’t even realize she had become a monster. In this new story, the water does not come crashing in to kill our enemies… It creates a path TO them. And FOR them.
And I realize that there are many people in the world who are not ready to hear those words: “This is not who you are. You know who you are.” I am not naive. Many of the monsters in the world will live their whole lives without ever having their hearts healed. I know there is a very good chance that Roy Moore will end up being elected to one of Alabama’s Senate seats. And there is a good chance that the republican-controlled Congress with push through a massive tax cut that will make the rich even richer and the poor even poorer. There is about a 100% chance that Trump will do something else unspeakably shameful and depressing tomorrow. And the next day. And the next… In the struggle between those who are interested in Power and those who are interested in Justice, there will be many battles won by the ones in search of more Power.
But little by little… One by one… Person by person, and story by story… Human consciousness expands… And progresses… And evolves… And the things we used to be okay with become horribly distasteful and offensive… And things we used to never even notice before become glaringly obvious… And things we were numb to become hurtful… And people we used to not even see — people we used to HATE — start looking like our neighbors.
Look at what happened with the man in this video, a peanut farmer from Alabama, who lost his 23 year old lesbian daughter to suicide. Please, oh PLEASE watch this video…
Things that used to be clear have a way of becoming less so… And people who used to look like monsters start to look like people who are worthy of being loved. I think about this man wasting years of his life throwing balls of fire… I think of his heart being restored… And then I think of him pressing his fingers into soil where there used to be only blight, but now life springs up all around the things he touches. He probably used to quote all six “clobber” verses about how gay people were “preverts” and “abominations,” just like all the people supporting Roy Moore at those rallies surely do. And they probably look at a movie like Moana, and call it dangerous indoctrination. But when people quoting Bible Verses start sounding like defenders of hatred and injustice and inequality, and a movie about a young woman trying to return a magic stone to a goddess reminds me of the goodness inside of us, I’ll take Moana every time.
So whether we end up with a new democratic Senator from a red state like Alabama, or whether we end up with a horribly broken person like Roy Moore, let us stay hopeful. Even if we end up trying to make sense of another disappointing blow to our faith in humanity (like the ones we deal with on a daily basis with this presidency), let us remember the brave Polynesian girl who proclaimed who she was enough times that she started to actually believe it. Let us see the life in others, as well as the life within ourselves. Oh God, may the Te Kās of our lives become our Te Fitis.
Let that be our prayer. And like any prayer worth anything, let that prayer lead us to hope and love and action. And getting out of bed… Even if our hearts get broken by the many of the people in Alabama (and in this country, and in the world) who don’t yet realize WHO THEY ARE. Even if the shell has not yet cracked off of them, revealing the Green and the Life and the Love that is inside of them. Amen.
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