In a time like this it helps to take a deep breath. Just stop for a moment. Breathe deeply.
But stopping to breathe isn’t easy.
This morning I jump out of bed to get the latest news reports of the dispute over the President’s travel ban executive order: Judge Robart Rules’s Federal District Court ruling in Seattle staying the travel ban; President Trump’s tweet calling Judge Rules a “so called” judge; the Ninth District Court of Appeals’ delay in responding to the Justice Department’s request to immediately restore the travel ban.
Where and how will it stop? How do you take a deep breath when the things you value and the things you fear are colliding as fast as atoms in a super-collider?
Stepping outside this little moment of time for some perspective helps me to stop and breathe. The story of Herod and the Wise Men (Gospel of Matthew 3:1-23) comes quickly to the mind of a retired preacher.
After a long journey to Bethlehem from their foreign country, the Wise Men (the Magi) “returned to their own country by another way”–which is to say, they refused to return to Herod who had sought to deputize them. They did not accede to Herod’s disingenuous, anxious request that they return to inform him of the whereabouts of the newborn child who would threaten his rule. “They returned . . . by another way.”
The Wise Men were returning to a different country, thought to be Persia (our Iran). They had been wise to come; they were wise to return . . . by another way than Herod’s. Although the rest of the story is gruesome – the slaughter of innocents before the death of Herod – the good news is that the world did not belong to Herod then, and it doesn’t now.
The story of the Wise Men helps me stop, take a deep breath, and find hope for the America I feel I’ve almost lost. If we “return to [our] own country by another way,” we may yet find American democracy again.
- Gordon C. Stewart, Chaska, MN, Feb. 5, 2017.