Do Not Lose Heart: A Letter to a Young Activist During Troubled Times
by Clarissa Pinkola Estés
... You are right in your assessments. The lustre and hubris some have aspired to while endorsing acts so heinous against children, elders, everyday people, the poor, the unguarded, the helpless, is breathtaking. Yet ... I urge you, ask you, gentle you, to please not spend your spirit dry by bewailing these difficult times. Especially do not lose hope. Most particularly because, the fact is - we were made for these times. Yes. For years, we have been learning, practicing, been in training for and just waiting to meet on this exact plain of engagement. I cannot tell you often enough that we are definitely the leaders we have been waiting for, and that we have been raised since childhood for this time precisely. ... I grew up on the Great Lakes and recognize a seaworthy vessel when I see one. Regarding awakened souls, there have never been more able crafts in the waters than there are right now across the world. And they are fully provisioned and able to signal one another as never before in the history of humankind. I would like to take your hands for a moment and assure you that you are built well for these times. Despite your stints of doubt, your frustrations in arighting all that needs change right now, or even feeling you have lost the map entirely, you are not without resource, you are not alone. Look out over the prow; there are millions of boats of righteous souls on the waters with you.
Keeping the Peace
Do you remember the famous feud between the Hatfields and the McCoys? A squabble started between these families in the states of Kentucky and West Virginia during the American Civil War. After the war, the feud was kept alive by disputes over a fiddle worth $1.75 and a stray razorback hog.
According to Stan Mooneyham, "Dancing on The Strait & Narrow," by Election Day 1882 the situation deteriorated to the point that three McCoy brothers killed Ellison Hatfield because he had insulted them. "Devil Anse," head of the Hatfield clan, had the three McCoys rounded up and tied to bushes within sight of their family cabin; then he put fifty rifle bullets into them. After that it was a life for a life -- sometimes two or three -- and even the women became just part of the body count. Hostilities didn't finally abate until the second decade of the twentieth century. The cost to those two families was immense. Almost thirty deaths were recorded in the most famous example of eye-for-an-eye revenge in U.S. history.
You've seen this scene in the movies: a rugged cowboy pats his pearl-handled six-shooter in a holster hanging from his hip and drawls, "This here is my peacemaker." Peacemaker? Maybe widow-maker. Or orphan-maker. The problem is, shooting people is not a good way to peace. It's a little like the father who, while spanking his child, said, almost in cadence with each slap, "HOW MANY TIMES HAVE I TOLD YOU NOT TO HIT YOUR SISTER!" Gotta love the irony.
If force and violence can't bring peace out of chaos, what can? What does it take to make peace? And to keep it?
The answer is clear. Peacemakers are not weapons -- peacemakers are people. You and I. Peacemakers are people with hearts for reconciliation and understanding. In our families; with our neighbors; around the world.
Level-headed and patient people have always been the best hope for a lasting and just peace. That is the only way it has ever worked.
Perhaps that's why peacemakers are call blessed.
-- Steve Goodier
There will always be times in the midst of "success right around the corner, but as yet still unseen" when you feel discouraged. I too have felt despair many times in my life, but I do not keep a chair for it; I will not entertain it. It is not allowed to eat from my plate. The reason is this: In my uttermost bones I know something, as do you. It is that there can be no despair when you remember why you came to Earth, who you serve, and who sent you here. The good words we say and the good deeds we do are not ours: They are the words and deeds of the One who brought us here. In that spirit, I hope you will write this on your wall: When a great ship is in harbor and moored, it is safe, there can be no doubt But ... that is not what great ships are built for.
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