Monday, October 24, 2016

Two Little Words

Some lessons come to us over time, and sometimes we have epiphanies. And sometimes, it takes time to have epiphanies. That happened to me this week.

The last 16 months have been a time of intense learning and growth, some of it not comfortable, but all of it needed and wanted. I am a better person, husband, father and priest. I am glad. And I have been wrestling with a way to encapsulate all that work in a way to share. I am not sure that I have, but this week I had a word come to me. Two words, actually. Two little words.

They are the essence of what I needed to hear, and words I need to learn to use more and more. They are words to use with myself. They are words to use with people encroaching boundaries. They are words to address abuse. So simple, and yet so underutilized.

They are words of power, almost to the extent that the have great effect. They are whispered at moments, and when they are it it the bravest thing in the world. They are screamed in rage that injustices have gone on too long. They are used over and over in ways that make the world a better place, and ways that can make us better people.

The words?

"No more."

That's all, "No more."

They are words I have learned to say to myself at moments of weakness, when my self-control needed my inner parent. They are words of encouragement when people overstep and make expectations and demands which I am unwilling to entertain or entertain any longer. They make me accountable to me and who I need to be. Not your will, but mine. And in that, it enables me to say yes to the things I hold most dear: my relationship with God, with family, with those under my care, and yes, with myself. When you get on a plane the say that you need to put on your own air mask on first in case of an emergency, so you are able to help someone else. Self-care is just that. Taking care so I can take care. "No more" allows me to do that in regards to my those areas where I need to embrace healthy choices, or maintain healthy boundaries.

When "No more" is whispered, I think of those who only have their voice left. Everything else has been taken away. Victims of abuse, or violence, find a fortitude that draws a line. I cannot imagine the courage it takes to say those words, but when they are used, nothing could have better validation of them as persons worthy of dignity and respect. They maintain and uphold their personhood, claiming that what ever has started will not continue.

We hear "No more" screamed in rage and protest. It is uncomfortable, pent up frustration erupting and coming forth into crescendo of empowerment. When communities find that they are more powerful together than alone, and that they have a viable, needed, and deserved voice, and persons of privilege which have never had to ask the questions these need to ask, and never had to face the situations these have needed to face are confused and claim equality when things have been anything but equal, and need to cease at once. "No more." Words of power. Needed words. Words we will hear more and more as privilege is addressed, confronted, and changed. The privileged only have their loss of privilege to fear, which may be sizable and great in this culture, but far more just when it goes away. We need to hear "No more" and help to make it happen, or at minimum, allow it to move forward.

Two little words. Hear them. Use them. Whisper them or scream them. When used to lift self and others up they are tools for advancement. When they are used to hold down and oppress they can be weapons, too. As we avoid the continuance of the ills and wrongs of this world, we can find ways to draw and maintain those boundaries, and as we do, the world can change. All by saying, "No more."

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Blessings, Rock