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The Things That Make Us Happy Make Us Wise

When I was a kid and I thought about war, I usually imagined that in any kind of draft scenario I would either be a conscientious objector or try to get training to do medical work. I had many reasons for that, but one of them was actually that I was scared: I wouldn’t want to be on the front lines.

Recently I’ve been feeling that a lot of battles are going on, and people I know and love are fighting them—I don’t like war as a metaphor for discourse, but it feels useful and applicable right now. I’ve had to ask myself why I’m not participating, if it’s a matter of justice. Most of the fighting is about words, and I care so much about words, and I want them to be used well. I care about kindness, and people being good to one another. This is all applicable to the discussions happening around me.

In part, I think I don’t have the chops to participate. I’m stunned, sometimes, by my lack of understanding. Then, too, there are people who are better equipped, and people whose need to speak is greater. It seems right to let them do their work.

I guess what I’d like to do is figure out how best to work from the sidelines. How best to care for the kind of hurt these debates bring about. How to encourage productive, compassionate peace. This does feel kind of useless. Often what I’d really like to do is just yell Stop! at people—but I can’t do that, and I also can’t let myself retreat to some internal island where no conflict exists.

So I’m working on it. I’m determined to be brave in the best ways I can.

michaelmoonsbookshop:

Steadfastness 
ornate headpiece from a magazine article dated 1903

michaelmoonsbookshop:

Steadfastness 

ornate headpiece from a magazine article dated 1903

secret agent! secret agent!!!

Yeah! Wait, it’s probably not very secret agent to talk about being a secret agent on Tumblr.

I was fantasizing about how I can reinvent myself when I go off to school, and I thought, “I could be known as That Small Man With The Really Amazing Posture.”

You know, actually…

Happy birthday Henry James you old coot!

Happy birthday Henry James you old coot!

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