Stoking the Fire
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There are a handful of people in the world that if given the opportunity, I would jump at the chance to meet. They are all people, who for me exemplify the type of person I strive to be. Out of this handful, over the past year, I was blessed with meeting two of them.
The first person was Archbishop Desmond Tutu. He spoke at the college at which I was teaching. His joy for humanity is evident in everything he says and does. This joy is infectious.
The second person is a woman whom I have admired since the 70's. She is an activist and peacemaker. Her approach to both has always struck me as down to Earth and practical.
It was no surprise then when my mentor asked me if I knew Starhawk that I responded with great enthusiasm. Of course, I know her! I had used her as a reference in several of my papers written for my Master's. I had read her words and watched videos of her work. I was equally enthusiastic to hear that Starhawk was coming to speak at my mentor's church.
The evening of the talk was a glorious spring evening. The stars were bright in the clear New England sky. The church was filled to capacity, something any cleric loves to see, especially these days. Sitting close to my beloved, I looked over the crowd. The majority of people were our age, but here and there, young people sat brightly waiting for our guest speaker to begin.
Starhawk took the podium with the grace of a wise woman. She spoke eloquently about how we could continue to work towards the goals of peace and justice in the world. She explained how there was a need to learn to dialogue.
Tears welled in my eyes. The woman that I admired just said we needed to learn to dialogue, which is exactly what I had been saying and striving towards.
At the end of her talk, she asked everyone to join her outside for a spiral dance to pray for peace, to pray for healing of Mother Earth, to pray for understanding and compassion towards all.
As we danced, weaving around the drummers, I looked up into the night sky. I remembered the words of astronauts who, after returning to Earth, tried to explain how small and fragile our planet looked. With deep sincerity, I prayed that we would be able to heal, the planet and ourselves.
As the spiral dance ended, I found myself to the back of Starhawk. Not believing in coincident, I realized that this was a gift. I gently reached my hand out to touch her shoulder. She turned, took my hand and smiled.
I am not sure what I told my sister, Starhawk. I think it was something about her being a catalyst for my own activism and peace work. But I do remember thanking her for the work she does and for stoking the fire of my own activism.
Since then, a million ideas have been spinning around my head. There is so much work to do; I know I cannot do it alone. Won't you help, too?
Find opportunities to lend a hand, speak a gentle word, easy a pain, stand up to injustice. Alone, we are like our fragile planet, but together, we are like the stars - each spinning in the spiral of our galaxy - each a part of the great Cosmos.