Our History, Our Grace
Rachel Ehrlund, Musings, Dec. 8, 2012
Reflecting back on the last hundred years of our history as “civilized” human beings is often marked by shame and sadness. So much pain is held in many of the stories of our not so distant ancestors; our grandparents, our parents. The lives they lived and experienced in comparison to the “advancements” of the present day seem like entire worlds that most of us in the younger generations can hardly fathom. And yet these stories are also strong with a history of strength, perseverance, hope and faith.
It is amazing to know that in such a short time in known human history, we could come away from some of the atrocities of oppression and degradation into a far more balanced world than our elders knew in their youth. Much is left to be done, much remains on our plates to be addressed, pushed for, believed in, stood up to… but knowing that so much is possible in so little time, so few rotations of one small planet among the stars, fuels my internal fire to never stop believing in the change we know is possible.
When I look back on the history of women, native americans, african americans, jews, and all other oppressed and suffering peoples, who only a short lifetime or two away did not know simple freedoms that today we all make an effort to enjoy in this and other countries, I am reminded of the brave men and women who stood for what they believed in, who never gave up hope, who loved, who marched, who united with a goal and a voice for something greater than themselves.
When I review the history of our communities… of the Cherokee who have not forgotten how to dance, of the strong African woman who has never forgotten the song of her roots, or the woman who writes her truth so loudly that her self doubt will never cloud her voice, no matter how much her society tells her it isn’t a good fit for what they want- I see a future where we can and will be that which we believe possible. I know that our children will look back on these times with the same bewilderment that we do now in reviewing the stories of the last century. Knowing that the sort of past we presently live could never be right for them, would never be allowed, and that ahead of them lies a world even brighter and more balanced that we could conceive of from our perspective.
I believe in the beauty in the totality of all moments, in the rightness of all possibilities, in the infinite nature of our being, our soul, our planet, our people. But I also believe that we have come here to share our stories, to speak our truth, to follow our hearts and dreams and to live our missions with strength. I believe that we are responsible for creating a new world for our children, for ourselves, for the history that will one day be our own. I believe with all of my heart that beyond dualism and being in the now, there is a purpose to our warrior intentions, there is a calling deep inside that presses us forward, to evolve beyond society, beyond culture, beyond this very planet in this cranny of existence, into and beyond that something greater which exceeds any attempts that human language could conceive of.
I believe in peace in a much greater sense than it being the opposite of war, or the antithesis of those tragedies of our collective human past. I know peace to be the capability of all souls to unite and be, incarnate, as we are, embracing all that is, and standing together as one. Each shining brightly from the grace that the Creator bestowed upon every spark of itself in our beginnings.
I read back on stories of darkness, and I see bits of light shining from within. Martin Luther King Jr., Anne Frank, Nancy Ward, Mahatma Gandhi, and so many other heros of peace. I look at our present and I see a sea of heroes joining hands to stand for the place within their heart that knows no words, that knows the truth of our united origins, and that has come here to play a most important role in the future of a planet which will surely come to be.
Some people may think that it is naive to believe in peace on earth, to believe in equality, and to talk about unconditional love for every person, every creature, and every bit of life that the plant herself has offered us as family. Many people believe that we are waiting for some outside force to come and save us from ourselves, a god, a more advanced society, a miracle… or that we deserve to see our own end, to be punished one way or another for our past. But I believe that we are being given a great and incomparable opportunity to grow; as souls, as a species, as a planet and beyond. In every lesson that we have experienced, in every shadow, in every ray of light there has been progress- we have seen change.
I know that we have not come here in vain. And I know that we are creating a brilliant future through upholding a lineage of strength that will one day be beyond the description of our current systems and paradigms. And today, I am grateful for those who have come before me, leaving a legacy of truth, honor, courage, love and faith, so that those of us reflecting back on those stories now will not be overcome by negativity and darkness, but can rejoice together in the majesty of a history which has gotten us here to this very moment.
Let us not despair for those who have come before us, for those societies, for those families, cultures, religions which we feel have been wronged. But let us honor their stories with pride. Let us look on them with great respect and know that they have lit a path for us to follow by representing their own hearts and souls amidst shadows unlike we will likely know in this life, but which others in not-so-distant places yet here on earth do know. Yes, there is much change left to make, there are many causes for which to stand, and so much that we can do if we look for places to give of our time and commitment. We have come a great distance, and there is a great road left to travel.
Many of us have been here before, and many will choose to come here again, one day looking back on ourselves with the same reverence and complex emotion that we now reflect upon our ancestors. We are connected, a loop that loops around, each of us embodying the past, the present and the future.
I believe that with each setting sun there are great triumphs made here upon this humble planet, if we but turn our face to the light to see. And with each sunrise comes a new opportunity to follow in the footsteps of our collective history, to choose to invoke the strength and resolve, the courage and the peace of those we worship and respect, knowing that within each breath and body lies the capability to be and do beyond our wildest imaginings.
If we choose to believe, the change will come.
One day, one step at a time.
By. Rachael Ehrlund