The Rocking Chair

Two Should Sit, Rock, and Talk

Two Should Sit, Rock, and Talk

Today is a cloudy day. My brain feels cloudy too. Because I’ve been raised on a good protestant work ethic, I know to abhor the cloudy brain, to force it into clarity so that I can get stuff done. But then I remember (because my wife reminded me) of some advice on of my spiritual mentors once gave me – it is okay to not be productive.

In fact, it is okay to embrace the days where the brain doesn’t function that well not as a failure but as a healthy response of the soul telling me I need to slow down. I need to meditate. I need to percolate.

Ironically, even with the rise of coffee shops in our culture, we’ve cut down on the appreciation of percolation. And with less percolation, we find ourselves less empathetic as well.

I find that percolation of the soul is best suited to the gentle rhythms of the rocking chair, as espoused in the poem below.

“The Rocking Chair”

The rocking chair
is underused these days
and the world suffers for it.

The only creaks and moans it makes these days
are faint echoes, teased out by the blown wind across empty spindles
that no longer bear the weight of the tangible,
but bear the weight of sorrow, emptiness, and loneliness with the same gentle comfort.

Across the world, bombs explode.
Hearts explode with sorrow as the anger of ideologues
is played out through the spilled blood of those who serve
what they believe has to be the greater good.
The cries of children call forth with expended energy the rumbling of their distended bellies
as the belches of the gluton fill the world with the noxious gas of indifference.

Why make a being with such a capacity of hate?

Wars are waged, one after the other.
The apocalypse is at hand and the rocking chair sits empty.

The problem may seem global, but the porch is the battleground
of indifference where the large problems of the world might still be subverted
by the gift of empathy born out of community.

The rocking chair cries out –
We belong to each other.

But its voice is blocked out by locked front doors
by devastating headlines
by blaring televisions.

In church, a place with its own mixed track record, we
used to call each other brother and sister.
We used to define neighbor expansively, if homogeneously.

Now, even the DNA in the blood in our veins that makes
us the same is not strong enough to defeat
the magnetic draw of soul-less individualism.
We all march to the beat of a different drummer with no regard
for the way our rhythm fits with the rest of the world.

We’ve lost our way, the rocking chair cries, and I pause to look upon its loneliness.

I sit.
I sit and begin.
I sit and begin to rock.
I sit and begin to rock, and the rhythm that emerges belongs to us all,
provides the backbeat to the hope of our words and hearts with one another.

In the creaking and sliding I belong to you and you to me,
the rhythm ready to call us back home to where we belong with one another,
siblings under the same roof,
more same than different.

All is not subsumed or lost but found in this rhythm,
beginning with me.

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