Not the Tomb but The Womb

For many people these days seem like dark and troubling times. Of course, another, and significant portion, see these times as hopeful and encouraging. They are finally being heard and having a voice. Either way, our country and our world seem as divided and divisive as I can recall.

A friend of mine sent me the writing of a Sikh spiritual director. I was impressed and want to share it with you:

Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh

In our tears and agony, we hold our children close and confront the truth: The future is dark.

But my faith dares me to ask:

What if this darkness is not the darkness of the tomb, but the darkness of the womb?

What if our America is not dead but a country still waiting to be born? What if the story of America is one long labor?

What if all the mothers who came before us, who survived genocide and occupation, slavery and Jim Crow, racism and xenophobia and Islamophobia, political oppression and sexual assault, are standing behind us now, whispering in our ear: You are brave? What if this is our Great Contraction before we birth a new future

Remember the wisdom of the midwife: “Breathe,” she says. Then: “Push.”

Now it is time to breathe. But soon it will be time to push; soon it will be time to fight — for those we love — Muslim father, Sikh son, trans daughter, indigenous brother, immigrant sister, white worker, the poor and forgotten, and the ones who cast their vote out of resentment and fear.

Let us make an oath to fight for the soul of America — “The land that never has been yet— And yet must be” (Langston Hughes) — with Revolutionary Love and relentless optimism. And so I pray this Sikh prayer: 

Nanak Naam Chardi Kala,

Tere Bane Sarbat Da Bhalla

“In the name of the Divine within us and around us, we find everlasting optimism.

Within your will, may there be grace for all of humanity.”

Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh 

She returned to the same bold and prophetic question in a talk that she gave, and I invite you to watch the fire of the spirit pouring through her: 

“Yes Rabbi, the future is dark, on this watch night,

I close my eyes and I see the darkness of my grandfather’s cell.

And I can feel the spirit of ever rising optimism

(in the Sikh tradition ‘Chardi Kala’) within him.

So the mother in me asks,

‘What if?

What if this darkness is not the darkness of the tomb,

but the darkness of the womb?….

What if this is our country’s great transition?”

Thanks be to God for giving us these stars on these dark nights of the soul.

May we breathe, and may we push, through the darkness of the womb, and witness the birth of a new America. May we be the midwives and mothers of an America that does not exist yet, but we must give birth to.

Let us breathe, and let us push…