End Times & Election Season

“Now I know we’re going to hell in a handbasket,”

“Finally, things are turning around.”

I wade through the swamp of rhetoric daily, climb onto a small island of time, and listen to Rumi. He lived in a time of true sea change — as the middle east was swept by the Mongols, the crusaders, and disease. His family fled their home during war. And still, he writes of rebirth, of sheer joy, of compassion. “I go into the Muslim mosque and the Jewish synagogue and the Christian church and I see one altar.”

When I leave the island of rehearsal, he comes with me: Rumi does not fear mucking about in the swamp. After speaking his words and inhabiting his trickster stories, he climbs into my daily interactions. I find myself more able to flip a joke back to my husband, more likely to seek out the fussy baby to see what’s needed, more open to seeing the sky on a busy day, more able to hear the yearning in my frustrated friends of all political stripes. I want to prescribe this 13th century poet to our country: take two poems before bed and call me in the morning.

“Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing,
there is a field. I’ll meet you there.”

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