(If you got here directly without reading the introductory blog post, you might want to click through and start there. It provides a little additional context.)
When the election of Joe Biden happened in November of 2020, I was unhappy. That would be the least antagonistic word I can use. There are many other words, much more colorful, that I would have written if I had chosen to blog about politics at that time with my emotions running as high as they were.
It’s not that I was a huge Trump supporter and was crushed by his defeat. I have been disappointed by all politics for a long time now. In their absolute quest for earthly power and dominance, both parties are wildly inconsistent. Neither captures the true tenor of how I view the world. The Republicans come closer and seem less likely to do significant damage, but I, like so many, find Trump’s style of communication to be unbearable.
My displeasure was more about the potentialities of Democratic control of the Presidency and Congress. Unfortunately, nothing has happened since the election to dissuade my fears. If anything, the President and Democratic leaders seem to be deliberately baiting me every time they open their mouths.
Thus, my emotions remain unsettled. I am often still angry. I invariably avoid the news because every time I listen it inevitably sets me off.
As I tried to come to grips with my anger and other emotions, I sought to bring my Franciscan calling to bear. I knew that the anger I felt then and still experience now could not be allowed to rule my thought processes. If that happened, my very identity as a Franciscan would be in jeopardy.
In particular, I found myself considering Article 19 of the OFS Rule:
Mindful that they are bearers of peace which must be built up unceasingly, they should seek out ways of unity and fraternal harmony through dialogue, trusting in the presence of the divine seed in everyone and in the transforming power of love and pardon.
How, in the midst of the deep division and animosity of the current state of the country, does one “bear peace, seek out ways of unity, trust in the presence of the divine seed in everyone, and trust in the transforming power of love and pardon?”
Yes, I can do this on my personal level. But what would such “peacemaking” look like on the larger scale?
Peace, unity, trust, love and pardon are all missing completely from current political dialogue. There seems to be little hope that they will appear anytime soon.
And then these questions occurred to me:
What if unity is impossible? What if the situation is irreconcilable?
What would the ramifications be if our politics cannot be reconciled? How would this impact my personal life and the life of my children? Is this something Americans need to be concerned about? If the leaders are as inept as they appear, could we be careening out of control and never realize it until it is too late?
How does a “peace bearer” charged with seeking unity recognize when unity is not possible? What does he do next? Are there situations where fraternal harmony, peace, love and pardon are only possible after separation?
As I pondered these questions, I found the suggestion of a story at the edges of my consciousness. One thing writers do, in order to sort out their thoughts, is write. So I wrote out the story that was coming to me in an effort to deal with my emotions.
It is not a long story. It has only four chapters. The first three are the length of a typical blog post if not shorter. The fourth is longer but it could not be helped.
The story is also not finished, or at least is likely to appear unfinished the first time it is read. This is because I do not know what will happen next. That is for the reader to consider and project for himself. The end, I think, will be different for every reader depending on where they start from and how open they are to hearing the other side.
I debated about whether to post the story here. Is it fitting material for this blog? I also debated about whether to try and spread it by other means. Like the Senator, I wonder whether I am doing the right thing.
Is he acting as a “peacemaker” in the story? Am I acting as a “peacemaker” by sharing it?
I don’t know.
I guess that is something else the readers will need to decide for themselves.