Awake in the Night

I wake in the night with pain in my heart for all that is happening in our country, and I feel utterly powerless.  How can we respond to a reign of terror?  How can we respond to cruelty after cruelty promulgated by people in power? Money grabs, land grabs, malevolent neglect, direct abuse, more power grabs.  I have been an activist most of my life, and I believed and hoped that activism might help to change the world for the better.  In some ways, it really has.  But the dream–of a whole society that was rooted in cooperation and mutuality, in care for all of its people–that dream feels lost in a nightmare of empire re-emerging like some multi-headed dragon from the flames of disaster.

In my feelings of powerless, an old friend comes to me.  Jesus sits with me in the dark night. He comforts me, strangely, by reminding me that in many ways I am powerless. I can’t control what “my government” is doing right now.  The idea that it is “my government” is an illusion, democracy has become an illusion, a thin veneer over oligarchy, over fascism.  But Jesus too was powerless: he and his friends had no political power.  He lived his whole life in the shadow of the Roman empire, and that empire killed him.  Yet he was able to respond, to act, to live a life.

How? He prayed, he taught, he healed the sick, he listened, he walked among the ordinary people, in the lowly places.  He recalled the words of the prophet Isaiah:

“The Spirit of the Holy is upon me,
    that one has anointed me
    to proclaim good news to the poor.
That one has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
    and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free,
to proclaim the time of blessing from the Holy.”

He didn’t concern himself very often with the emperor or king or governor–he was clear that those powers were evil. Rather, he went directly to the poor, the oppressed, the sick, those were the ones who caught the eye of the divine blessing.  And later, when he painted a picture of the end of the world, this was the measure by which all people were judged:

I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me. … Whatsoever you do for the least of these, my relatives, you do for me.”  

There is a certain clarity in all of this. A letting go of all that I cannot control. A shift in focus to what is possible, what really matters. An appreciation for the heroes who are risking their lives to look after the sick, those who are bringing food for the hungry.  A remembrance of the One who is with us in the midst of our powerlessness. Thank you.

 

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8 thoughts on “Awake in the Night

  1. Dear Myke,
    thank you for sharing. Even though I am, officially, belonging to the group of the poorest people in Amsterdam (the Netherlands) I feel rich cause I do have an insurance and internet, food and a roof over my head. And then I have family; 2, grown-up children, 5 grandkids already and a dear sister. And friends. I never really believed in a political system…when I was 9 years I decided to break the cirkel of violence that was the ‘tradition’ in my family for generations and it might very well be because of all this that I started to become more and more conscious and aware of the spiritual world/part of life.. Sorry my English is not my think- or feel-language. I was born in Denmark, my mom came from Sweden and I moved to here when I was 30. Somewere back in time my Danish’ grandmother’s ancestors had come walking all the way from somewhere in the Netherlands to an island, Amager, nearby Copenhagen.
    As I see it, we are all in the same ‘boat’ (is what the Dutch would say) all-in the same or similar situation, all on the same planet, all the same, all one. For me there are no ‘lesser’ people. Only peoples actions. So I choose to look around in my community and see and help create positive actions and awareness by just telling people truthfully what I see is going on. For instanc, a neighbor was talking really negative about another neighbour without even knowing anything really about this person. So for me it’s time to step up and correct, even if it’s not the most pleasant thing to do. And to help each other, look out for one another, see who is really not cable of doing groceries and so on. We made several, smaller networks here to be able to reach everybody…so everything from talking over the phone with people who feel lonely, frustrated, confused, afraid etcetera to bringing foods, meds and other supplies, to organizing schooling and other activities, indoor and outdoor and also all kinds of ways to support the people who lost their income, such as, on beforehand, buying tickets to, for instance, a local barbershop, hairdresser, music performance, painter, massage, healing session or whatever you want to do when it’s again possible. At the same time when really looking locally what’s going on and connecting with more and more people, I find it also good to look really world wide. And ask myself questions like : Is this really the way I want to live ? For instance…. All the flying, transporting over long distances, buying, buying, buying…consuming so much, or can I be content with (much) less and differently produced produce ?? Like local greens, fruits, cheese…all of this. And what about how we treat each other ? Do I even want to drink coffee, wear metals, cloths, eat foods like avocados, chocolate and many more that are made by companies where the main working force is by people being treated as slaves ??
    So all this is nothing new..the only thing new, for me, is that this crisis is an opportunity to really make a difference. Now ! By simply starting with myself..my direct surroundings….and spread out from there. For some people, like yourself, it’s great you have a bigger network so that you can reach many more people. I am grateful for that.
    I know that fear and panic is the worst right now. So I recommend for everybody to do relaxations like, for instance, the ones Deepak Chopra offers on YouTube..they are for free (for instance : ‘Dealing with the corona virus’) There are many more like : Open Circles : The inner journey. You do need internet though….there are several more, if you need more information just ask, I’ll look it up and send it to you.
    We are fortunate in this country that people do not panic to an exstend of felling so threatened that they buy weapons to feel safe/safer. It must be horrible for all of you in the U.S right now. I realize that.
    With love, Annette

    Van: Finding Our Way Home
    Verzonden: zondag 29 maart 2020 13:23
    Aan: petersenannette@hotmail.com
    Onderwerp: [New post] Awake in the Night

    Myke Johnson posted: “I wake in the night with pain in my heart for all that is happening in our country, and I feel utterly powerless. How can we respond to a reign of terror? How can we respond to cruelty after cruelty promulgated by people in power? Money grabs, land grab”

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