Something beautiful

It’s September, you guys.  It’s the beginning of fall (if you live anywhere in the northern hemisphere other than here), and of school days, of slightly cooling temperatures, and the onset of falling leaves.

Unfortunately, it’s also the beginning of election campaigning.  I’ve seen a smattering of political posts in my Facebook feed, and I already get that uncomfortably familiar feeling: the feeling that says that going online is like going into battle.

There was a time, a couple autumns back, when every time I logged into my Facebook account, that was exactly how I felt.  Like a naive yet passionate warrior lifting a dull sword, I fought off as many enemies as I could.  My weapon might have been dull, but I hacked away at injustice and ignorance all the same.  As if that weapon would really slay the enemies I sought.  No, of course not.  It didn’t slay a damn thing, and do you know why?  Because the only way I could have won that battle was to slay my own insecurities, and my own pride, to kneel down in prayer and humility.  No amount of Facebooking or Twittering was going to do that.

I don’t want to go down that path again friends, but I feel myself dangerously close.  I read an article opinion piece this afternoon (not political, but incendiary all the same) and spent about 20 minutes composing a combox reply.  Boy, was I going to set this person straight.  I’d do it “nicely,” of course, in the sense that I would refrain from name-calling, but not so nicely that the author didn’t also feel the sting of shame over posting such divisive drivel.  And then my iPad ate my comment and it was time to head off to our afternoon activities.

Tonight I was reminded of it at bedtime and I decided that my comment was too long, and instead I should write a blog post.  Oh, I’d begin it with something trite like: “I don’t usually pick fights on my blog, but I felt the need to speak out…” so that people would know that really this needed to be said.  Necessary.  As I sat there in the humid darkness of my sons’ room, mindlessly singing their lullabies, my stomach was a hot ball of self-righteous indignation.  My thoughts were scattered and incoherent: all I had was a bunch of one-liners ready to fire back at the original author.  Frustrated at my scattered brain, I asked for the Holy Spirit to tell me what to write.

The answer was immediate and as clear as if words had been spoken: “Something beautiful.”

Stopped, dead in my tracks.

There was no way I was going to write something beautiful to or about this person.  There was no way I could write charitably, not right then, anyway.  Therefore, I was being invited – ordered? – to write about something else.

Sometimes it’s hard for me to take advice from the Big Guy, but tonight, for some reason, it wasn’t.  I knew I didn’t need to put more anger and division on the internet.  There’s more than enough pain and sorrow to go around, and I don’t need to add to it.  So I’m taking His advice and sharing something beautiful instead.

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San Gabriel Mountains and a Valley Sky after a light rain scrubbing.

San Gabriel Mountains and a Valley Sky after a light rain scrubbing.

The smell of rain hung in the air,

the concrete knew it waited there,

hovering, waiting, in heavy clouds above.

So long since I had breathed it in,

Unsure of my own senses when

The first drop tickled my face.

“It’s raining!” he said, as he jumped for joy

Arms widespread, this drought-raised boy

Face upturned to the liquid gold.

My face was damp now too,

But surprisingly salty:

one tear, maybe two

Escaped

At the respite of a mid-drought rain.

The morals of this story:

1) I may get political this season, but it will only be at the prompting of the Holy Spirit.  My pride’s gonna have to take a hike, or at least a back seat.

2) It’s desperately dry here.  So dry that rain did in fact make me cry.  Please pray for more rain, especially for our farmers.

3) Any way you slice it, bad poetry is better than a self-righteous diatribe.

Comments

  1. Oh, I love this. What a great reminder. Thank you. We are headed into that season again, and it is a trying time. I’ll try to keep posting something beautiful instead.

  2. A good reminder and one I will commit to memory. I, too, am learning to let my fingers just walk away from the comment box. Few people are ever truly converted in the comboxes and there is far too much nastiness that gets slung around in them, even by supposedly faithful Catholics. Thank you for the shared beauty and the thoughtful advice.
    Tara Brelinsky recently posted…Summertime Sonnet by Nikolai BrelinskyMy Profile

  3. Love this. Beauty will save the world, right? (Also, I think your poetry is fabulous.)
    Mary @ Better Than Eden recently posted…But Have I Fasted Yet?My Profile

  4. Lots of terrific insights, here. Something beautiful, indeed. I’m in Des Moines, IA, center of the political craziness due to our first in the nation caucus event, and it’s terribly vitriolic here, too. I suppose it’s that way most places right now. Thank you for sharing — I’m sure your words will come to mind the next time I feel like throwing Internet bombs in a combox.
    Lisa Schmidt recently posted…Something to ponder when squirrels sit next to you during MassMy Profile

  5. Something beautiful always wins! Love this post, Micaela! And your poem was lovely! 🙂
    Amanda recently posted…Currently: Crazy BeautifulMy Profile