How can we be repairers of the breach? This question tugged at me during Independence Day. I wanted to write about it, partly to relieve myself of the tension the question posed. Have you ever wanted to do something as a bypass to being disrupted?
Good questions unlock doors. They reflect the quest I [am] on or the quest I own. When questions come, they are an invitation to explore or to embark on a journey.
Instead of writing, I listened. I sat with the complexity of the question. It did not feel like an invitation for my inner judge to step in. The voice felt invitational as if to say, “I am curious. What do you think?”
So instead of pulling out my laptop, I followed a spark of inspiration and ordered the movie, Good Trouble, the John Lewis documentary. I watched it in my own world, my own bubble all day, and let it speak to me and stir my soul.
Be still and know is an amazing scripture full of wisdom that feeds the weary. Be still until you know is the dance you learn from a song written in the key of life.
One thought that emerged was to be repairers of the breach, one must know there is a breach present. Some breaches are unknown until one either gets close enough or hears the rip and perhaps senses an urgency to stop the tear before it widens beyond repair. Have you ever witnessed a small tear that traveled and unraveled so quickly that it defied a quick fix or solution? A pandemic and social justice uprising will reveal breaches.
Some tears have had many talented seamstresses attempt to creatively repair the breach on the surface. It appears to be repaired until there is some weight applied. Under pressure, the weight causes the repairs to fray and eventually tear making another repair more difficult because the ends are more challenging to connect.
Some breaches are deep. Some breaches are so deep that it just appears as a gaping dark hole that you really cannot eyeball the depth. There can be a gnawing feeling inside that the depth travels to foundational rock. It is understandable to have this experience and say, “I will build a bridge over the gap and not deal with the fact that there is a gap.” Many may travel this bridge; some may fall off into the abyss and the more traveled the bridge is the louder the echo from the depth of the gap calls out to be witnessed.
When researching the word breach, it spoke to me. Breach shared that it can be a gap in a wall, barrier, or line of defense, especially, one made by an attacking army (Webster, 2020). Oh, I get it. Breaches do not just happen in nature like an earthquake that may leave a gap in the ground. Breaches can be more intentional through strategy and design or by refusing to see.
Representative John Lewis shared,
“We were ordinary human beings, ordinary people touched by what I like to call the spirit of history. Some force just grabbed us. People had to do something; people had to say something. If not, I do not think history would have been kind to us,” (Winfrey, 2019).
When Congressman Lewis transitioned, I had a dream that I was standing before a huge breach in a beautiful and lush place, I heard his voice cry out from the breach. His voice was not audible but rather something my soul heard and interpreted, “do something about me. Do not leave my legacy here. Take me with you.”
I believe the dream symbolized the call of the elders who came before us. The elders who stitched some of the seams that are fraying under the weight of now… The elders who built bridges across the gaps for us to cross. Now the ask is to close the gaps instead of crossing the bridge. So many have fallen on the sides of the bridges or see the condition of the bridges and know that it is unsafe to cross. The repair kits of the past do not seem to be enough.
We now have new instruments of change. We have 3D printers. We have AI that synthesizes the best thinking about a topic into one place. What models does AI, who is not blue, red, purple, black, or white, who is without agenda (except for what we input) share to spark innovation? It is not a blue, red, white, brown, black, yellow solution. In fact, if we sat in question with these beautiful hues and colors, I think they would question what we have done to their beauty with our divisiveness. I do not believe these colors were created to divide but to provide beauty to take in, witness, experience, and complement one another.
As repairers of the breach, we need soulutions. AI is without soul, but it may generate multi-faceted new possibilities to explore when it is particularly challenging because of the complexity of identifying the breaches. Repair means to fix or mend a thing suffering from damage or a fault. A pathway to build the question for AI to solve is to agree on the fault, what it is solving and why it needs to be solved.
What if instead of debating which breach is most significant or whether the breach is real, instead, we listened for the cry of the breach that is speaking to our souls? What if we get close enough to witness the breach, to know it exists, to learn its history, to see the repairers of the past in the frays sway in the breeze of now? What if that is our sacred passage? What if we stay there and experience the emotion, the conflicting stories to travel to the many truths of the breach? What if we look at our tools and tool kits with the voices of the elders opening our eyes and hearts to really see?
An emerging truth that I am sitting with is the tension between the intersectionality of the breaches and the realization that if they are not all addressed, we implode. I listened to an Awakin Call recently given by Bill Drayton of Ashoka who shared, “we are all changemakers. The new inequity that is emerging is between those who recognize this shift [everyone is a changemaker] and respond and those who do not recognize the shift and carry on.” If the masses experienced a cultural shift to valuing the emergence of the changemaker, our individual and collective responses are the repair.
As I learned of Justice Ginsburg’s passing and witnessed the flood of quotes and tributes this weekend, I felt she and Congressman Lewis were now speaking to my soul in unison. When Justice Ginsburg was asked how she wanted to be remembered, she responded,
“Someone who used whatever talent she had to do her work to the best of her ability. And to help repair tears in her society, to make things a little better using whatever ability she has.”
Justice Ginsburg’s truth sounds like a universal possibility if all of us to do our part with whatever ability we have to repair the tears. I watched the documentary RBG this weekend, repeatedly, and recall the segment featuring the unlikely, genuine, and deep friendship between Justices Ginsburg and Scalia. Justice Scalia shared he interpreted cases by the letter of The Constitution with a deep respect for history and intention. Justice Ginsburg felt her approach of interpreting cases reflected the nuance of now as The Constitution was not written as an intention for women, minorities (many of whom were slaves at the time), or other marginalized people whose treatment conflicts with the possibility of The Constitution.
It is time to repair the breaches that are authentic to us. Let the breaches and their many voices disrupt us, challenge our interpretation of history, perspective, and our best-laid plans. It is time to take deepening purpose pivots to do our parts daily to make good trouble in response to what is speaking to our soul from the breaches. Within the breaches that are at times painstakingly difficult to experience and take in, remains so much possibility to experience and heal as a living legacy. I want to be a part of the narration of how we healed the breaches that future generations will stand and build upon.
What if the intention of 2020 were an invitation to blatantly expose the breaches of our world? What if the disruptions we are experiencing enable us to hear the voices calling to us from the breaches? What if it is time to marry the wisdom from the breaches, repairs of the past that afforded us today with the emergent tools and repairers of today? What if…
“You will rebuild the ancient ruins and restore the foundations of past generations. You will be called the Rebuilder of Broken Walls and the Restorer of Streets Where People Live.” Isaiah 58:13
This lens of rebuilding echoes one of my favorite words of this time — composting. The idea that the ancient ruins support the restoration through the foundations of past generations. This nuance speaks to the truth of both-and rather the scarcity of either-or solutions; it is restorative and emergent.
I believe when our souls awaken, we experience signs everywhere. While listening to a TEDx Talk by Nikki Sanchez, she shared her Mayan Prophecy,
“We were born for this time. This time is the first time in our history that our consciousness has come to a level of evolution where can actually see from one other’s eyes.”
Acknowledging the breaches, being with them, letting its representative voices speak to our souls helps us to see from one other’s eyes.
Webster Dictionary (2020) Retrieved online www.websterdictionary.com 2020, September 19.
Winfrey, O. (2019). The Path Made Clear,” NY, NY: Flatiron Books