You’ve thought about it long enough. You’ve explored every dark corner of your insecurity and decided that there is nothing to lose and much to gain so you activate. After a long savasana, you start to bring small movement to your fingers and toes, deepening your breath.
I listened to a great podcast the other day in which the guest said, “Witnesses are activated people.” To me, this gave a sense of intentional action. It’s easy to go through life as if we are lying on an oversized inner tube floating down a lazy river or coasting on cruise control down a six-lane highway. There are times, when we are too tired to do anything else, but in other times life calls for action. We see a need, or something that needs to change, and we activate our creativity and our courage to veer off the wide and easy road and take a detour on the road less travelled.
Witnesses are activated people who tell stories. But what are we bearing witness to? The heart of God is, more often than not, counter cultural. It is concerned with caring for the poor, the wounded and the oppressed. Just look at the beatitudes:
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.Matthew 5:3-10
Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
These attributes go against the current of our society, which cares more about accomplishment, progress and strength. We can float along with them, or we can activate our muscles and swim upstream.
For me, realizing this, has brought a new conviction that I need to speak up more – not just in this space but in more public spaces that will bring the voice of the oppressed (refugees, people with disabilities, the poor, etc.) to the table and put their needs on the top of the agenda. It means, instead of sitting silently and drifting, speaking up when I hear or see injustice.
A witness is someone who attests to a truth that they know or have been an eyewitness of, but too often, we are afraid to share our stories or lay any claim to truth. Our stories, however, are part of our identity – they are snapshots of the experiences that make us who we are and if we do not lay claim to them, we risk becoming a homogenous latent people. It is time we stop letting society determine the current: who we are and who we should be. Only in letting each person own their story, take pride in it, and share it, can we experience true belonging.
This post is part of the 2021 Writing Challenge. This challenge is open to anyone and involves writing on one word a week for 52 weeks. Write for yourself or write for others but either way, please feel free to share by posting a link in the comments (if you’re posting on this week’s word) or post on social using the #2021writingchallenge and tagging me on Twitter or Instagram, or posting on my FB page so I can repost. Happy Writing!