And Still I Rise
“And still I rise,” Maya Angelou nearly cries out the refrain in her achingly beautiful poem that feels wholly comforting to souls that wake weary these mornings.
I wrote Angelou’s words in my journal on January 16th, the day we celebrated the life of Martin Luther King, Jr. On that day, so many gave pause to honor the man whose eloquent voice rang out, “I have a dream,” in what seems a lifetime ago when considering today’s tumultuous times.
On August 28, 1963, when King called for an end to racism and for civil and economic rights, I’m sure many dared to hope as they hadn’t for a very long time.
And now, here we are, perched hesitantly on thin branches as the new president threatens hopelessness again. Oh God, I pray it isn’t so.
Maybe this 10-day-old period of rushed presidential edicts will turn into an eventual time of quieter order and understanding–miracles do still occur. In the meantime, we cannot ignore the real civil uprising that is occurring in cities and towns across our still-great nation.
The people need to speak. They need to be seen. They need to raise their voices against what seems at the moment like abuse of power.
Now is a time for care and caution. As a person in long-term recovery, I am not immune from rapidly accelerating thoughts that can lead to wrong action. I urge all my brothers and sisters in recovery to stay vigilant on their respective recovery paths and to stay “prayed up.”
Remember too that no one can take your joy or change you without your permission. Hear the rest of Angelou’s words:
“You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I’ll rise.”
I must remember that my life is about action now, not passivity laced with complaint. The latter was a part of my old life.
Today, I have a dream. I have a purpose. I will rise.
From James 1:25: “But those who look into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and persevere, being not hearers who forget but doers who act–they will be blessed in their doing.”