The Other Side of the Hedge: Groundhog Day Revelations

Last night I went to bed discomfited by an obtuse political speech, and this morning I woke up to an awesome lunar eclipse. Today’s not quite Groundhog Day yet, but it might as well be. Spring is coming. The world is slowly awakening once more into powerful life.

I’m not usually big into writing about politics; I like to keep my church and state nicely separated. With that being said, there’s an important lesson to be learned in politics these days because the mistakes we’re making (on both sides of the American political aisle) are the same ones that we’re making in our groves, our circles, our pews, and wherever else people gather to raise up the sacred.

A groundhog.  Public Domain Image, CC0.
A groundhog. Public Domain Pictures, CC0.

No One Is Coming to Save Us

Years ago, late one night while I was mopping the floor at a coffee shop after a show (and being thoroughly ignored), I heard three Christian guys “witnessing” to each other. Now, Christianity is not my schtick, but growing up in America I can hardly be blind to its draw, meaning, and power.

So, these three men were talking about their experiences with their Lord, and each of the stories had pretty much the same narrative. Each of them talked about the moment that He came into their life and changed them forever.

I wanted to drop my mop, leap across the coffee shop, and shake them. “No!” I wanted to shout, “That was not the moment your Lord came to you. What you saw was always there, and that was the moment you opened your eyes!”

Since “crazy janitor” has never been on my career path, I kept my trap shut. But the lesson stands: no one is coming to save us. If they come, it is for their own good. If we want change, we are going to have to change.

It’s a bitter pill to swallow: the work is ours. Whether it’s a pursuit of the sacred or the pursuit of justice, there’s no one coming to save us. We have to open our own eyes, make our own choices as best we can, and live with the consequences.

The Way Forward

From the knight in shining armor, to the wise teacher, to the savior sacrificing for us all, we all occasionally want to abdicate responsibility. There’s a lurking desire to let go and let someone else take up the slack.

And at the same time, there are always a thousand voices luring us with the promise of a better life, if only we will listen to them, trust them, and pay them.

I’m not saying “it’s every man for himself” or it’s all “nature red in tooth and claw” out there. Those are the words used to divide us, not unite us.

The lesson is simpler than that. If you’re waiting for a leader, it’s you.

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