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Made for This

I have a long post about the previous two Sundays that’s partially stalled out because hard to write and partly because I’m waiting on something, but I will get back to it.

I have all sorts of things I could say about this week’s service. I could talk about meeting The Man In The Cowboy Hat, Carlos Arredondo, who came to the US as an illegal immigrant, had a very colorful life, lost his sons to war and suicide, and used his fame after the Marathon bombing to found a local organisation to support military families in finding resources, getting educations, and suicide prevention. I could talk about how he got up to the pulpit and greeted us all, in a reasonably thick Costa Rican accent, with, “You may recognise my accent. I am from Boston.” And how that was important, that a man who is such an utter refutation of one of the threads of fearmongering exists.

I don’t know what else I’d say, than that, though.

When we had a moment of prayer and contemplation, a woman in the pew ahead of me reached out to take my hand. I don’t know if she did it for me, or for herself, or for both of us. But we held on.

Two of the hymns we sang were Pete Seeger songs. (“Turn, Turn, Turn” and “Where Have All the Flowers Gone?”) It was the Veteran’s Day service, after all, and one does that.

And I think of the thing Jo Walton said once, I think on usenet: “Peace means something different from ‘not fighting’. Those aren’t peace advocates, they’re ‘stop fighting’ advocates. Peace is an active and complex thing and sometimes fighting is part of what it takes to get it.”

And I’m standing there, my eyes closed, singing “Where Have All the Flowers Gone?” which I have known since I was a child. And thinking about the things that I have known since I was a child.

My dear sister said something about being raised to train for an Apocalypse, and always praying that it wasn’t coming. Other people have talked about being made for this, for knowing, for fearing, for learning.

What was I made for?

I was made a writer, a poet, a singer. And I look at the world, and wonder how to write the new one into being, how to sing it into being. What I need to do.

It is such a large thing.

But I grew up teaching myself to be human with the words of Pete Seeger and others, and I never did the Hamilton “I wish there was a war”, but dear gods I never thought that that was a substantial part of what was going to be training me for the future. I was made for this, but how is this part the part I was made for?

But we are, all of us, a product of where we have been. There are no clean slates.

And before the election, I started work on a novel that delves, among other things, into the quiet genius of oppressed people operating in solidarity. So I guess that’s the thing I do now, huh? Because that’s a story that needs to be there.

Oh, when will they ever learn?
Oh, when will they….

And oh, hey, one of the things I installed will let me post this automatically to twitter, too. Let’s do that. Cool.

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