The Urgency of Now

“In his historic speech at the Lincoln Memorial, Martin Luther King said, “We have come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of now.” He knew deeply about this. His whole life was devoted to the fierce urgency of now. It’s like the all-embracing, fierce love of the mother who protects her child. She does not equivocate. The protection is complete, the fierceness is complete. It takes that kind of dedication.

“Sometimes it takes the kind of ferocity that you see in the guardian deities at the front of Asian Buddhist temples. They’re frightening beings, because sometimes we have to face our own demons with that kind of fierceness. At other times, what is needed is much more subtle. Whether it’s strong or gentle, it’s the intention that makes all things possible. Unwavering: I will not be turned away. I will not be defeated. I will not defeat myself.”[All emphases in original.] Tending the Flame, Dharma Discourse by Geoffrey Shugen Arnold Sensei, Book of Serenity, Case 53, Huangbo’s “Dreg Slurpers”

As most of you know, I live in Mid-Michigan. We had an ice storm last Saturday night. My house did not have power restored until late Sunday evening. I spent all Sunday driving my husband around to places to eat and places to drink coffee (including, of course, Biggby) while awaiting the return of electricity.

Was that the end of the drama? Hardly. It was so stressful that I ended up getting really sick. Many people around me still do not have power. The battered women’s shelter was out of power for a few days. Many critical traffic signals still do not work. I am on the upswing, but many power lines are still down. Utility workers from as far away as Washington, DC are working to restore power.

What is taking up press space? Phil Robertson. Can anyone say “Slow news day”? People have a sense of urgency, but about relatively trivial issues. I never watched Duck Dynasty, nor have I ever read The Da Vinci Code. I am clearly outside the cultural mainstream, and have been for a number of years. The greater culture’s priorities are not mine.

Take care of your neighbors and yourself. Don’t defeat yourself by majoring on minors. Keep a sense of perspective. I don’t care whether Duck Dynasty continues to be aired. I have bigger fish to fry, such as getting well and taking care of my husband—electricity or no electricity.

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About cdhoagpurple

I live in Michigan. I was Greek Orthodox (and previously Protestant), but now am more Buddhist than anything. I am single now (through the till-death-do-you-part clause of the marriage contract). My husband Barry was a good man and celebrated 30 years in AA. I am overly educated, with an MBA. My life felt terminally in-limbo while caring for a sick husband, but I am free now. I see all things as being in transition. Impermanence is the ultimate fact of life. Nothing remains the same, good or bad.

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