Old Sayings Come Back to Me*

“Bloom where you are planted,”
she often would say to me,
but blooming where you are planted
seemed so wussy to me.

I wanted to be out on the front lines —
there with all the action.
For confrontation, I would pine
and for justice, hopefully, get satisfaction,

but over the years I have learned
that I was making myself a victim
by perpetuating, with confrontation in my heart burned,
a violent system.

Chavez said, “I’m a violent man learning not to be.”
“In all your getting, be sure to get wisdom,” —
And so, that saying also came to me —
mysticism, contemplation, meditation, unitive
being with God (not win/lose, us or them, not violent
confrontation) lead to peaceful action.

In hindsight, her words return to me
“Bloom where you are planted,” so on the way
to the next demonstration, I’ll plant a tree
and help the earth breathe free.

*with appreciation for the meditations of
Richard Rohr, Matthew Fox and Henri Nouwen

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