Monday, September 8, 2008

Praying With My Feet

This has been an inspirational week. My husband and I are slowly working our way through the major speeches of the Democratic National Convention taped during our recent travels. At the same time, we are actively involved at the local level in a debate on how to best address the problem of poor cell phone reception. Whether in the grand scheme of national government or the smaller world of our tiny town, I find myself called these days to act.

How best to express spiritual values is a fundamental question for every seeker. The balance between inner experience and outer action will be unique to each of us, as our constitutions, proclivities, and life lessons are varied. But I know that my spirituality must move outward into the rest of my life. Of course, it must extend to how I relate to my family, friends, and clients. But I also know it must be reflected in the way I greet the cashier at our local store, in how I respond to the stranger on the street, and in my involvement in both local and national politics.

The latter is a bit of a stretch for me, particularly given my somewhat introverted nature and disenchanted political history. I came to adolescence in the 60s and effortlessly absorbed a leftist sensibility that I have never abandoned. While my radicalism lessened as I grew older, I continued to see Democrats as hopelessly conservative. When Bill Clinton arrived on the scene and I finally voted for a president who actually won, I accepted that it was enough to have someone in the Oval Office who at least said the right things. I had become a grudging Democrat.

And then came the Bush~Cheney years. Oh, my! Any thoughts I still harbored about it making little difference who was in the White House rapidly evaporated. I watched our country shrink on every measure of moral authority and conduct, and I knew without a doubt that it all would have been quite different under a President Gore.

My spirituality deepened during the Bush~Cheney years, particularly during their second term. I wonder if this is entirely coincidental. Perhaps watching my country deteriorate on so many levels, apparently with the support of a fearful citizenry, propelled me inward in a search for something constant and true. I’ll never know.

What I do know is that as I now listen to speech after speech so eloquently describing both the peril and opportunity facing us, I feel something stirring within me~~an urgent hope. I know that I must act, not just as an American who has the power to cast a vote, but as a spiritual being who has the opportunity to pray with her feet. It is not sufficient for me to meditate and extend a deepening spirituality into my personal world. I know I must act politically, even though such expression does not come easily to me. I know I must do what I can to elect Barrack Obama and Joe Biden.

The Democrats and politics in general will likely disappoint me time and again. Of course they will; they are part of our imperfect world and reflect our human flaws~~as do I. The existence of imperfection is no excuse for passivity or hopelessness. No, it is reason to pray with my feet. And my voice. And my time.  And my keyboard.

Barrack Obama is a candidate I can enthusiastically support. An individual who is intelligent, wise, and has the temperament to make reasoned choices. A person who understands the struggles of average Americans and will advocate for their needs within a bureaucracy that is often unresponsive. A man who is schooled in the Constitution, and will uphold it through his appointment of justices, including nominees to the Supreme Court. Someone who will repair our standing in the world community through a foreign policy that stands in accordance with our values, relying on diplomacy, choosing war as a last resort, and abolishing the use of torture. 

So, I will continue to register new voters. I will make my Obama calls and perhaps go door to door once more. And I will continue to press myself toward involvement in local politics as well. All of this is an expression, an extension, of my spiritual self.

I hope your spirituality has also found its ground. And with feet strong and sure, may it run!


Loanne Marie

Addendum: A few days have passed since I wrote the above and my enthusiasm has waned a bit. I’ve remembered that US foreign and domestic policies have always had a seamy side, no matter the president, and that the choices of our elected leaders often raise the question of who their constituents truly are. I guess I still remain an ambivalent Democrat.

Yet hope endures. It really does matter which imperfect persons sit in that imperfect White House. I continue to feel infinitely better with the prospect of Obama and Biden there than the alternative.

And pray with my feet I shall!

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