I love this poem by William Stafford. My favorite line, “Are you waiting for time to show you some better thoughts?”
A little over a month ago I shared a vulnerable bit of my traumatic background around random acts of racial violence. I declared my Moonshot: to drop the stones of resentment and experience holistic heart health and be of maximum service to God and my fellows.
Through mindfulness of the moment, addiction recovery, breath awareness, self-compassion and a whole lot of forgiveness, I don’t carry the role of victim or perpetrator; I am free.
Today, I grant myself space for Grace, to feel the feels, and then carry on with the work of personal transformation. I may cry about the state of affairs, and then I remember my crying isn’t gonna solve anything. I get to declare another Moonshot, another something extraordinary that wouldn’t otherwise happen…
So in doing anti-racist research and study and having the difficult conversations with our two boys about the digestible chunks of world events we digest daily, we aim to be part of solution vs. part of the problem. We read, write, meditate, heart-storm, and live, together.
The boys are growing up Caucasian, in a dominant culture that is riddled with broken social contracts, where I imagine it is hard to be male and Caucasian, just as I imagine it is hard to be female and Black…
Just as I imagine this moment in history is hard for humanity, period.
The invitation is to take a moment to pause.
You Reading This, Be Ready
by William Stafford
Starting here, what do you want to remember?
How sunlight creeps along a shining floor?
What scent of old wood hovers, what softened
sound from outside fills the air?
Will you ever bring a better gift for the world
than the breathing respect that you carry
wherever you go right now? Are you waiting
for time to show you some better thoughts?
When you turn around, starting here, lift this
new glimpse that you found; carry into evening
all that you want from this day. This interval you spent
reading or hearing this, keep it for life —
What can anyone give you greater than now,
starting here, right in this room, when you turn around?
here I am reading it aloud
for a brief while we lived in Lake Oswego, Oregon where this amazing poet died. William Stafford was born in Hutchinson, Kansas, on January 17, 1914. He received a BA and an MA from the University of Kansas at Lawrence and, in 1954, a PhD from the University of Iowa. During the Second World War, Stafford was a conscientious objector and worked in the civilian public service camps—an experience he recorded in the prose memoir Down My Heart (1947). His presence on the planet has enhanced my life. His legacy inspires me. May it be so that my legacy matters. And may yours. You matter. Your relationships matter.