The very last day of November. November with its welcome chill air. November of strong winds and wild leaves. November forests the color of flames and sun and cinnamon. I love November as the arc of the year braces into winter. As our bodies crave warmth beneath bundles of clothes. As we take note of home, hearth, heat. Our spirits too reflect inward. A time to guard the flame of our being.
Many people I know are searching. Searching for guidance as we pursue dreams and ideas. Searching for answers when the wisdom lies hidden. The paths are unknown. Forerunners searching in open country, we wonder if we wander. Or are we exactly where we’re supposed to be?
Many I know are afraid. We are afraid to admit we are afraid. Systems revealed as corrupt. People armed with weapons, words. We hurl them at each other, but I feel the enemy is not the other. The enemy is in all of us. In our capacity to betray ourselves and all humanity. The enemy is our capacity to forget; our incapacity to forgive. Our capacity for cruelty, deception, ruthless self-promotion. Much easier to point the finger at all the evil in the world and say: die! Be removed foul contender! So much harder to place palm over my own heart and say, “Be truthful. Be open. Be cleansed.”
My heart says: “Pray. Pray for your enemies. Pray and bless and do not curse.” My Teacher taught us this and it is a hard teaching. Pray for the ______________? Fill in the blank. Who seems the great opponent? You can hear it in how we talk these days. The enemy is the other party, the opposing ideologues, the systemic injustices, the invading hordes, the intricate cover-ups, the outrageous bribery, the ostensible ignorance. Whatever it is, my Teacher says pause. Cease plotting and pray. He says, “in this world people tell you to love your neighbor, hate your enemy. But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.”
November. Thanksgiving. Hoarding. Fear. Courage. Hatred. Love. War. Peace. Goodwill. Can a soul travel from one end of the spectrum to the other? Is it possible to love those who oppose and oppress you? I will try. And may humble prayer, like the kindling of a nascent November hearth, begin to warm the cold places in my heart. May prayer release currents of wisdom, compassion, liberty, justice and every good thing, toward every man, woman and child, in this land, and everywhere. On this good earth.