My Cause is the Humdrum
It is there every time I turn on the television, every time I click on a news app. It stares back in bold block letters and rainbow letters and glitter letters. On t-shirts and poster boards, through megaphones and speeches, through fundraisers and petitions.
We stand up for women’s rights, gay rights, trans rights. We fight against prejudice and cancer, slavery and excessive force. We campaign for equal pay and for equal rights and for equal sentencing.
And sometimes, we fight for the right to wear leggings on airplanes. Yeah, that happened too.
There are so many important causes to fight for (and many less important), and how wonderful it is that people are willing to stand up for their passions.
But our culture has an addictive personality. We are a society of binge watching and nonstop tweeting. We buy our daily lattes, drink our daily beer, and hope each insta-pic gets more likes than the last. We do not know how to live in moderation. We do not know how to exist without some blaring trombone of justice reverberating through each step.
We are a people of passion and principle. But we have ceased to be a people of peace.
Stand in any line and it is obvious we cannot wait without consulting the phone and tapping our feet. Ask people to surrender their phones and you will see true fear. On Mondays we come to work poised to rattle off our list of weekend escapades, mumbling through the “low-key” weekends but shouting aloud the new, the exciting, or the unusual. We are afraid to be alone and afraid to be bored, and, above all, we are afraid of the silence. Because we don’t know what to do with it.
I choose to take back the silence, to welcome it into the empty space I prepare. I choose to sit with my fears, my disappointments, my self-talk. I choose to feel the spirits and the earth, and I endeavor to embrace them. I feel passionate for many causes, but to me, one stands above all else.
My cause is the humdrum. I claim it and I chase it. My cause is acceptance that life is made up of a beautiful combination of unextraordinary moments – for that is where the extraordinary hides.
My cause is to awaken myself to the now. To realize that drinking tea and reading the words of the greats is not only valuable, but is actually the crux of it all. Having a simple conversation and celebrating a fifth birthday – that is what matters. Learning to savor a walk, to admire a dandelion, and to find an eggshell is as important as traveling to a thousand foreign lands. Posting something to Facebook does not make it real.
Reality is here before us, and it can be found within us. Whether I’m in Timbuktu or the county jail, I have the same eyes, the same heart, the same opportunity to exist in peace.
We have all that we need for every moment within us, but it eludes us.
My hope is that when I am ninety-nine years old and talking to my great-grandkids, my refrain will be, “I never went anywhere, and what a ride it’s been.”