bigger than all of us

Super Wolf Blood Moon, January 20, 2019. Photo by Marcus.

Super Wolf Blood Moon, January 20, 2019. Photo by Marcus.

Last night, Marcus and I stayed up late to watch the Super Wolf Blood Moon lunar eclipse. It began around 9:30 pm here in Houston, and finally reached totality at about 11:15 pm; Marcus and I sat out on our back patio, wrapped in scarves and blankets (it was chilly!), with binoculars and Marcus’ camera and tripod, cups of tea at the ready, staring up at the sky. I totally admit that I’m a complete space geek; but also, as we sat there in the quiet night, I thought how lovely it was that perhaps in those two hours, millions of people in the western hemisphere were doing exactly the same thing: staring at the sky in unison at something bigger than all of us. There is nothing like a celestial event to remind all of us on this tiny rock in space that we’re all interconnected, man.

For this reason, it seems fitting that this eclipse occurred on the eve of Martin Luther King Day here in the United States. King literally gave his life fighting for racial, cultural and economic equality in this country — and yet there is still so much to be done. I have to admit to being deeply shaken by the images of the young white Catholic school student and his friends staring down, smirking at and jeering a Native American Elder during demonstrations in Washington DC last week. Since reading the story, several other stories have come up, attempting to “provide context” around the encounter, but honestly, I don’t know that I much care about the context: the fact remains that the idea of respecting cultures, respecting elders, or even expressing opinion without also expressing derision, disrespect and even hatred to those who don’t share our beliefs doesn’t seem to exist in this country anymore. People of colour, women, immigrants, members of the LGBTQ community and brothers and sisters with disabilities continue to have to fight and scrape for simple human rights in this country, and those in power often seem offended at the idea that these folks might dare to consider themselves worthy of such rights. Sadly, so many of the lessons of Dr. King seem both relevant and unheeded half a century after his death.

And so, with the thoughts of our global interconnectedness fresh on my mind after last night’s eclipse, I feel more determined than ever to amplify the light of our collective better nature, but also repel the darkness of bigotry, racism, isolationism and intolerance that seems to be distinctly on the rise in recent years. The trick, of course, is doing so without spiraling into similar ugliness and hatred; to be an avid and tireless advocate and activist for light and equality while, as Michelle Obama once famously said, remaining high when they go low. It ain’t easy, and that’s a fact. But it’s important.

Because fighting for equality for those who don’t have it is not just for those of us on this planet today. It’s for the future. It’s for our kids, and their kids.

The responsibility to keep fighting for each other is bigger than all of us.

The question is not whether we will be extremists, but what kind of extremists will we be. Will we be extremists for hate or for love? Will we be extremists for the preservation of injustice or for the extension of justice?
— The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Soundtrack: What’s going on by Marvin Gaye