Today ends our week of focusing on vision. Saying what you’re “for” instead of only what you’re against. Holding out an idea of a hopeful future as you journey through seasons of lament. Because sometimes the seeds of what is to come are planted in the dungheap we’re facing in any given moment. And as it turns out, if its not so strong as to burn the seed up, dung is a great fertilizer.
In her book, Big Magic, Elizabeth Gilbert notes that “if I am not actively creating something, then I am probably actively destroying something.” Truly, both these forces are needed. I can think of lists long and wide of things I would like to see destroyed:
Working conditions without paid sick leave
But when I become wholly focused on the things I am trying to destroy, then often I am under-invested in creating the kinds of things I hope for on the other side.
Throughout history, philosophers and theorists and religious leaders have constructed documents to guide them in both resisting the world they despair of and building the world they want to see. A manifesto. A creed. A rule of life. These things were designed to be a guiding and binding docement for adherents for the remainder of their days.
Which seems a bit ambitious, if I’m being honest.
So today I’m writing a Manifesto for This Season, and I would invite you to do the same. It doesn’t have to be fancy or poetic or deep. It doesn’t have to be a collection of words you would paint on reclaimed barnwood and hang in your kitchen. It just has to be true. To get you started, here’s mine:
Rule of Life
(Or at least for March)
I will begin my days rooted in and grounded in the Divine Love that holds me fast, which practically means I spend my first moments in meditation, not scrolling through Instagram.
I will practice extending that love back to God, and to my neighbors and myself.
I will work on remembering that Jesus defines “neighbor” as “everybody,” and mostly the people I can’t stand.
I will invest in knowing where I begin and my neighbor ends because love lives in the space between, not in losing myself to another.
I will enjoy my morning coffee, not chug it. Life is a gift.
I will choose patience and gratitude over frustration. People are doing the best they can. And if they’re not? You catch more flies with honey than vinegar.
I will state boundaries consistently and directly. Clear is kind.
I will remember “perfection” is a theif and a liar. This applies to everything from activisim to vacuuming.
I will confront the racism I find in myself bravely, instead of justifying how “not racist” I am.
I will listen to the nagging voice in my head, not to validate her right out but to discern whether what she’s saying is truth or bullshit.
I will remember anger and fear and sadness will not be denied. I will sit and learn from their wisdom, but love and hope and courage still get to drive this bus.
I will smash the patriarchy by taking up all my space and cheering on my sisters to do the same.
I will drink all eight glasses of water, because life is better when you’re hydrated.
I will remember the world will not be changed in my lifetime, and I will keep trying to change it anyway.
I will listen more, because my life experience is limited and ignorance is not cute.
I will choose hope, even when it’s painful, because cynicism is also not cute.
I will neither be enamored by suffering nor will I make avoiding it my highest goal.
I will stop to marvel at the first flowers who dare to poke up in the spring, and not curse the snow when it dumps on their tender blossoms.
I will choose love, every time, except when I am hungry. Then I will choose to ask for forgiveness because I probably chose anger.
I will be humble and strong.
I will be honest and caring.
I will be confident and questioning.
Whatever lies ahead of me, at least for today:
I will show up.