July 11, 2022
Apologies to those who follow this blog for my rather lengthy hiatus these past few months. I took some time away to discern whether and how to continue publishing a blog. During that time, so much changed here in the States that, at first, I couldn’t summon the energy to write. All my attention was on holding tightly to the white river raft: the repercussions of the 2016 election. The Covid-19 pandemic. The repercussions of the 2020 election. The Russian invasion of Ukraine. Rising food and gas prices. Mass shootings. School children murdered. Parade-goers slaughtered. Gun laws loosened. Supreme Court decisions limiting freedoms. Constant turmoil of some kind or another. I felt I was being shoved under by the piling on of one extreme event after another. Why write? What difference would it make? I felt I could barely keep my head above water. At times, I still feel that way.
Then a memory returned to me. When my two children were teenagers and wanted to go see popular horror movies/slasher films with their friends, I advised them against going. My reasoning was two-fold: 1) It can be difficult to remove terrifying images from our minds, even if they are imaginary; and 2) Giving attention to such violence feeds such violence. Better to give attention to those things that are life-giving instead of life-draining. These admonitions have come back to me in regard to my own present action or inaction. I can choose to give attention to the chaos, and only the chaos, which then gives power to the chaos, or I can choose to respond in a life-giving way. Chaos has its purpose: it WILL demand change. How we respond to the change and how we help mold the change are up to each one of us.
Let’s face it. What we knew and expected of life five, ten years ago, is gone. We can’t go home again. Across the globe, a Pandora’s Box has been opened. The pandemic didn’t help it, nor did the characters of the various people who chose to lift the lid. What had been brewing, simmering, for so long has been let loose, there can be no doubt, and that fact can actually be an opportunity for us to re-examine our cultures, make amends, and reclaim the good. To do that, though, requires that we don’t allow the chaos to suck us in. For me, that means I return to writing.
I think of my words like dandelion fluff. I ponder them, write them, publish them, and then blow them into the wind. I don’t know where they will land or who will hear them. Only the Spirit does. But I have to keep sending them into the wind, believing that along the way they will offer a bit of hope, a bit of love, a bit of resolve, and a bit of community, giving energy and intention to the good. It is, indeed, a strange new world, and it is up to us to keep the Light shining in whatever ways we can.
Adding my light to yours ~ Rosemary
Brothers of Joseph
O Joseph, favored son of the brightly colored coat,
see how all your brothers gather again
in these strange and foreign days.
Watch them tear at your garment, again,
ripping it to shreds in their envy,
destroying what they do not want others
to possess. They turn their backs
on ancient Jacob in his grief, their hands
splattered with innocent blood.
Joseph, your brothers have arrived, raising their guns
high and taking aim. They toss freedom of conscience
into your dusty pit, burying it with the innocent victims
of their rigid rights, shaping their own morality
into a golden calf. Watch them take their scythes
to nature, destroying it with their open, hungry
mouths, selling their (our) birthrights
to the highest bidder, chiding old Jacob
in his grief. See them judge love: who can love,
how to love, when they themselves have no love.
Joseph, your brothers are here, unchanged,
trampling on others, unraveling the good,
filled with the hot passion
of the anger and envy
that almost killed you.
Joseph, your brothers are here, and we turn our heads,
plant our seeds, raise our hands to the sun, lift our prayers,
and wait to dance with Miriam in freedom.
© Rosemary McMahan
7 thoughts on “Foreign Land”
Oh Rosemary, I’m so grateful your dandelion fluff lands in my inbox and in my life. Thank you for sharing what I consider the “raw grief” that many of us feel. Living in hope and finding peace however we can even in simple acts of kindness prevent the chaos from being sucked in. I also hold on to your poem knowing that, in the end there was redemption for Joseph’s brothers.
Receiving and adding to your Light…….Christine 🙏❤️
Yes, I’m thinking about making that clearer in the ending of the poem. Thank you!
Thank you for blowing the dandelion fluff out into the universe, and for spreading your wisdom out to light the darkness. Your post paints a painfully exquisite picture of the world in which we live, while at the same time giving us a candle to light our path to the freedom of a new and better life. May each of us hold our light steady and shine it into the dark corners of a world in need of healing 🙏
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So glad your discernment led you to continue writing–and sharing what you write. Writing is a spiritual practice and as a spiritual practice, it grounds and clarifies and informs and inspires and connects–and reaches beyond our own boundaries. Thank you for all you do and all you are.
Thanks so much for your affirmation!