In the last envelope I received from Dan, a few years ago, was a requiem to artist Tom Lewis of the Catonsville Nine. In it, Dan quoted theologian Karl Rahner: “They do not leave us. They remain. Where are they, in darkness? No! It is we who are in darkness.”
But we won’t have to stay in darkness if we live daily with our ancestors of Love, our exemplars of courage and action so confident (con-fide: with faith), and remain inviting to all opponents.
Yes, answering Love’s call to stand up involves suffering. But our ancestors transfigured that too, as best they could. Even those humans at spiritual heights have the capacity to let suffering expand with the heat of their own pain. Confronting power does demand a lot, even when “you can’t not do it.”
Dan then hand-wrote, “We can be proud of nonviolence even if it’s clumsiness.” Dan actually had pretty well dumbfounded his ego. But thanks, beloved one. You do not leave us. And your body retired just in time for us — even if we’re clumsy – to let the nonviolence that inheres in the human soul, as illumined in yours, help lead us through this great darkness.
Ellen Murphy is a retired writing teacher and chemical dependency counselor living in Bellingham, Wash.
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