Swords to Plowshares

Image courtesy of Aaron Burden, Unsplash

I’ve sat with this image for a couple of weeks now. And for whatever reason, this image just seems to express part of what I’m currently feeling.

Resilience, yes.

Hope in America, in us, yes.

But also: Frayed. Worn. Tired. In parts, somewhat transparent. I can almost see the seams splitting.
A flag and a country that’s been through a thing or two.
Colors stitched together side by side, butting up next to each other peacefully here. And yet in real life, so much division, strife, hate.

So much ache.

We only thought the problem we all had to learn to get over and get through was Democrat vs. Republican. (Put the political party names in alphabetical order here; that’s all.)
Now it’s mask vs. non-mask, conspiracy theory or not, get back to work or not, what’s the agenda of the person in the grocery store with no mask but buying the same brand of potato chips you love? Are they to be trusted or not?

All this, before we even get to talking about race.

The need to respect all people on such a basic level that we haven’t quite gotten yet. Respect on a very basic level.

As in, don’t shoot people who are just trying to live their life, regardless of how it bubbles up fear and questions in you.

And perhaps, if that’s happening, fear and questions, that’s something you need to address with yourself, instead of hurting others.

This is full of so much lament that I can’t even find the right words. And so much lament that I don’t know the half of, being white.

I look at the flag again, full of these thoughts, and imagine a big rip right through the middle.
But it’s still there, the flag. Ripped and frayed and worn, and in parts, just hanging on barely. Just like us.

Perhaps I won’t imagine a rip there one day. That day when we come home to ourselves. I really hope so.

It cannot come a moment too soon.

That moment that swords will be turned into plowshares, a refrain from a song I have on repeat.

When we realize we are not our own enemies.

When we realize we can and will work side by side with one another. With plowshares, not swords.

Too hopeful, too naïve? Perhaps.

But I’d rather hold that in my pocket than have a heavy pocket full of stones.

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