01/16/2014: "Annoyed By Christmas Eve Debacle"
I am annoyed by this whole Christmas Eve Hayride Harassment Police Traffic Stop and Disaster Prevention Debacle. I am tired of reading about it on the on-line papers. I am tired of it clogging my Facebook feed. I am tired of it taking away energy and attention from what really needs to happen on this island and that is for everyone to learn how to swim. But I will get to that later.
Back to the events of Christmas Eve 2013 in Friday Harbor. Here is what bugs me the most about what happened-- that it happened on Christmas Eve and lingers on into 2014.
Somehow in the whole mess of things we forgot that it happened on Christmas Eve. And we have forgotten, in our secular, politically correct, to heck with the old Bible Stories, all hail commercialism just what Christmas is all about.
It is about a time of peace and reconciliation among people and the celebration of light coming into the world. My tribe calls that light Christ. Some tribes have a different name. The details may be different, but the big concepts are Joy, Love, Peace, Hope, Generosity, that kind of stuff.
So, some folks were riding around celebrating with a gazillion lights on their trailer. And another folk thought they could use a couple more lights--namely of the brake light variety.
And somehow things spiraled out of control. Which happens when we forget to move through the world with peace, love, compassion. Oh how I wish everyone could choose words of kindness. Oh how I wish the meaning of Christmas could seize this day and a spirit of reconciliation could win out instead of the lynch mob mentality I see exploding on the internet (and taking away the attention that should be going to teaching everyone to swim.)
I wish that those in power could humble themselves and just say, "you're right, maybe we came on too strong, it is just that we love you all so much that we would never want to see any one in my community harmed, so maybe I should have kept the hand off the firearm."
Oh, and wouldn't it be nice if our actions made our law enforcement people feel respected, instead of expecting the worse and sanctioning that happening. People behave differently when they feel beloved.
I don't think there was much love going on that Christmas Eve. You might say, a float full of families singing Christmas Carols, you can't get much more kum ba ya, peace and love than that. But my light in this world didn't come to love the lovable. He came to love all, and I am pretty sure that whatever light you have in your heart and your life would encourage you to love all. In Christ's time it meant even the prostitute and the tax collector. In our time it means even the traffic cop and the truck driver.
We can't keep hating people and then wonder why their actions are so hateful.
So choose your words, your tone, your body language carefully in this new year. You will all feel better for it. Plus, you can now devote that energy to helping every one learn to swim. Why swimming? Everyone should learn to swim. We live on an island for goodness sake. And besides, swimming provides the best metaphors for life. You can fight the water, splash and thrash and exhaust yourself and, eventually, sink. Or, you can let go, look up to the sky, stick out your belly, relax, breathe, trust, and let the water hold you up, floating on the buoyancy of love... I think that is how I want to spend 2014. What about you?
(Amy Wynn teaches swimming (surprise!), practices loving and blessing people at the Big Store, and is in the process of launching her youngest son into adulthood. She is thankful to her Celtic roots for all the great pagan practices we now know as Christmas.)