A Moral Awakening?

One of the unexpected benefits of this process of engaging in 100 Days of Action for me has been a kind of opening of the heart that has both been quite pleasant to experience.

I say it has been unexpected, because naturally I thought about action as being directed outward, at trying to redress the terrible problem of kids and adults in concentration camps at our southern border. So I focused – and still am focusing – on the camps and what could be done to eliminate them or even ease the suffering of those inside. What news could I write about, what rallies could I go to or launch, what politicians could I reach out to and petition.

I was focused on the object – immigrant justice. But what I experienced as I had a few failures and setbacks and then some modest successes was a certain opening of the heart that is difficult to put into words but nevertheless real. It’s a knowledge that it’s not up to others to act, it’s up to me. It’s an attempt to be more kind to others who are going through bad times who are nothing like the mistreated immigrants who are the object of my 100 days of action. If it were negative we’d call it “collateral damage”. I’m not sure we have a word for it when it’s positive.

My hero, William T. Barber, expresses the work of the PoorPeoplesCampaign as being focused on an a moral awakening, and at first I thought of that as a kind of outward, objective thing he was trying to accomplish. As I experience the sense of an enlarged moral spirit in myself – even if it’s only small and in its infancy – I can see that the process of acting is itself the agent for change.

Written on July 10, 2019