Cindy Sheehan is tired, wounded, and worn out—and recently stepped away from her role as a leader of anti-war protests. She has labored mightily, wrestling with the chaos and the troubled waters that have flooded our lives with permanent war. Yet, this war cannot be resolved, nor can it end, on the basis of one or two role models, heroines, or superstars. This war can only become peace when we as a nation, as a collective person named America, rise up in resistance to the chaotic forces that have produced this horror.
To right the wrong of this national sin requires more than words, protests, the street theater of marches, and certainly more than merely “voting the bums out.” It requires from us the practice of spiritual resistance. Such resistance is birthed first in reflection, contemplation, and solitude. From the womb of such resistance, new creation is possible.
Our entire nation needs to refocus its attention so that we can once again see inward shame, outward depravity, inward hypocrisy, outward cruelty, inward sorrow, and outward despair. We the people need a time of silent reflection to ponder what we have done, and what we have left undone. We need a time to grieve so that from out of that grief may come the backbone of courage, the steeled determination to seek justice, the cold, calm, clear anger that is necessary to right the wrongs, and to remove the “responsible” from their thrones of privilege and status.
From such spiritual resistance can come a new connection with community and a clear vision for a better world. It is from within ourselves that we gain perspective to see through the cultural trance imposed upon us by political and consumer propaganda, and draw strength to break through the chains of conformity that have held us in such pathetic and pitiful powerlessness. It is from within that we discover the voice of hope that discerns a new way forward.
Cindy Sheehan is taking a time out, a Sabbath rest, a period of reflection. In this she reveals herself as wise, strong, and brave. There will be another day for her to return, in another way, to live her hope for justice. In the meantime, while she refreshes and rests from her ordeal, it is time for us to step it up and step out, living out our resistance to war through lives reflective of a positive alternative. Cindy Sheehan ran point in the antiwar parade, but the real action is not in the one who sprints ahead, rather, it is in those who step by step refuse to falter and uncompromisingly advance toward the promise of peace. We give thanks for Cindy, but look boldly ahead to the time when joy breaks out into justice and these troubled waters become, once again, a wellspring of hope. We the people shall rise together, and those who have wounded us will hurt us no more.