The world today 8-18-22

What – Why – Who – When?!     by Joan Nedeau, Tenant, August 18, 2022



Yes! All of the above. Words, I suspect, that define our chain of reactions to life in the fast lane since March of 2019.  There have been so many changes and, upheavals. We have so little time to develop insights on one before another unsettles us. Time denied during which we may be able to respond with some unified intelligence. When is the earth going to stop shifting, I ask? At least to allow intervals between crises that will enable us to emerge out of a chronic reactive state. Constant upheaval allows no time for thoughtful response. Remember Henny Penny? “The sky is falling!”  Even, as children, we were learning about life through stories. We learned that anxiety builds when things remain unresolved. Thus, something as uneventful as a falling acorn can lead to group hysteria.



Never did it ever enter my imagination that life would change so rapidly and look so different in only three years! That is, in the friends I’ve lost, the family celebrations I’ve missed, the freedom to come and go as I pleased without being a threat to the public health. And this was just the beginning! The sky didn’t fall. These months have been more like “the bottom dropped out”!  I don’t need to list the chain of threatening and catastrophic events unfolding as we attempt to ward off the steady rise in our country of a culture of fear and division.



Where is that nation “one, indivisible, under God with liberty and justice for all”? And, like a bolt of insight, I answered myself this morning. “It hasn’t come yet.” WHAT? Yes, can you grasp what I am trying to share at this moment?  The past three years has opened my eyes and broken through my illusions. WHY? Because we are not a nation of “liberty and justice for all”!  Not yet anyway. Our history reveals we are a “work in progress”. We haven’t come this far without rising again and again out of tumultuous times.  WHO? “When faced with forces beyond our control it is best we know who rather than why”. (Quote)  A 12 Stepper knows, there is “a Power greater than myself who can restore me to sanity.” 



(Isaiah 55:8-9) “My thoughts are not your thoughts, my ways are not your ways. As high as the heavens are above the earth, so my ways are beyond your ways, and my thoughts beyond your thoughts.”



Could this be the problem?  I think too much and don’t listen enough? Are we a nation of immigrants who fail to accept our place in the “mix”?



A teachable time in my life was when I moved to east St. Paul into a mixed neighborhood. All seemed coolly hospitable until a Hmong family moved across the street and got the neighbors stirred up. These strange people who kept chickens in the yard, ate dandelions, and as gossip had it, “killed and ate dogs so watch your pets.” {We can be very unkind.) I was out in my garden on a beautiful Spring morning enjoying the early morning silence when I heard a distant voice “Good morning. My name is Lynn”. A little girl, with golden hair, came walking down the street dragging this floppy German Shepherd puppy on a leash. As she passed the houses, she repeated her greeting. Until, that is, she passed the yard across the street from me and noticed three little girls peering through the fence, Bu, Bea and Malee. (I learned later when they introduced themselves.) I watched as they visited through the fence and smiled as I went about my weeding. When I looked across the street again, the little Hmong girls had opened the fence to let Lynn and her puppy in, and they were sitting in a circle on the grass engaged in intense conversation.



As the weeks went by my neighbor to my left, a full- bodied German and doting Grandma to her daughter’s two black children, seemed quietly observant as the multi colored children began mingling . By the end of the Summer the daughter of my neighbor to my right had joined them. They numbered seven and, at the park one day, standing in a circle licking their ice cream cones, Bea said, “We are all like  ice cream cones, different colors and flavors, and when we laugh we get all warm and when we get warm then we get MELTED ALL TOGETHER!”



I am convinced whatever it takes, and however long, as history has shown, in and by the grace of God, by any other name, we are going to move beyond this fearful frozen state we are in. WHEN we allow ourselves to “get melted all together”.