This is our truth, tell us yours
Yes, in case you hadnt realsied I am an old hippie, and this is one of my favourite songs from the sixties. It is of course far oler than that.
A Time for Everything
3 There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:
2 a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
3 a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
4 a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
5 a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
6 a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
7 a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
8 a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.
9 What do workers gain from their toil? 10 I have seen the burden God has laid on the human race.11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet[a] no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end. 12 I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live. 13 That each of them may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all their toil—this is the gift of God. 14 I know that everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it. God does it so that people will fear him. Ecclesiastes 3.
This would look like the most wonderful exhortation not to stress, if it didnt come in the middle of one of the bleakest parts of the Bible, on the meaningless and futility of existance. It even makes Job look like a barrel of laughs! There is wisdom there however, and not just in how we treat ourselves.
A tweet appeared in my timeline this morning, asking people about the positives and negatives of online activism. I do not consider myself an activist, especially since that seems to mean people want to reduce you to a one dimension issue, but I replied because it seems an important topic. Online activism, especially twitter, has been a place of freedom for many. Those like myself who have to be anonymous, those with disabilities who for whatever reason are excluded from more conventional activism have been given a voice. However the huge drawback it seems to me is that people only hear the voice, they do not see the person behind it. Online we are expected to be always on, to be available, to never be weary of answering the same questions or facing the same prejudices.
There is also the assumption that because you share one belief, you share others, the invented myth of community that also haunts the online BDSM scene. The drawback of communities is you start seeing others as members of one instead of the rounded individuals they are. The more radical wing of sex worker activism could not accept I am a Christian, they wanted me to fit into a community which they had designed the limits of, and acceptable beliefs of. I am sure other people can think of their own examples where belonging seemed to come at the price of being less than the sum of all their parts.
Which brings me to the verses, and the song by The Byrds. We need to recognise for ourselves there is a time to fight, and a time to rest, a time for peace and a time for war. If we do not then we risk being exhausted just by trying to interact. SOmetimes we sow seeds, other times though the land must lie fallow. There should be no guilt in this, from others or towards ourselves, it is all a question of timing.