On the New Year, Choosing a Word, and Being Wilder on Purpose

Jan 2 2018

I’ve never picked a personal Word for the Year, even though I’m pretty sure all the popular kids do it.

I assume I don’t pick one because I’m lazy.

Or maybe because I’m busy.

Or, more honestly, probably because I’m too invested in making sure I don’t have time alone with myself to actually sit and be quiet and think about what I want, who I want to be, and how best to love this broken, shaky, beautiful world around me.

So, instead of sussing a Word for the Year, I’ve spent the last week trying new Instant Pot recipes, baking No Knead Crusty Dutch Oven Bread, and researching whether or not it’s possible to dry the starter for Amish Friendship Bread, like this, so I can eat it whenever I want without needing Actual Friends to pass it along to me. (Answer: I STILL DON’T KNOW AND THIS BOTHERS ME). 

My friends come up with cool words every year like BRAVE and LET IT GO and LOVE BIGGER, and you know what? They do it. They Pay Attention to their words. They let themselves be challenged. They try and they fail and then they keep trying which is success as far as I’m concerned, and so they change themselves in important and profound ways. 

I want to be like them.

But I’m not.

I’m more… muddled, I guess. Murky. A maze of both Magic and Mess. And also, I don’t know what to make of Things Lately. Like 2017. I don’t know what to make of that. Cluster Fuck seems too mild, and Dumpster Fire is downright adorable now, from Good Old Days of 2016. Remember that? When the fire was still contained in the dumpster? THAT WAS SO FANTASTIC, friends! I feel like we should apologize to the dumpster, you know? Like we maligned the dumpster without cause.

So, while I love seeing my friends’ words like Hope, and Thrive, and BE, and Listen, I can’t quite wrap my brain or my heart around just the joyful, contemplative goals right now. They feel… important, but also… incomplete. I’m happy for the New Year, I’m grateful for a symbolic fresh start, but I’m also mourning all the things that died last year, and I’m not sure my Expectations and Mirages are done dying yet. I still hear the death throes, so brushing off my hands and declaring Mourning Over feels premature. But I can’t choose Mourn as my word, either, because I don’t want to only lament what’s lost. I’m too grateful for that. Too glad to have my people. Too thrilled with this utterly strange, wild life. 

Is there a space, I wonder, between positive and negative? Between darkness and light? And, if so, how do I choose Dusk or Dawn, where light and dark converge, instead of Midnight or High Noon? What’s the word for that one? Where I’m content and confused, mixed and a little mangled, heavy-hearted and hopeful, but OK with all that? Where’s the quantum magic that takes us more than one place at once? Lost and found at the same time and somehow more free because of it?

Where do we get to be complex? Fully human with all the grand, gory bits that entails, and still made in the very Image of God? In the Image of Love? In the Image of all that is Divine and perfect? 

Where is that place, and how do I find it in 2018? Remember it in a word? 

I sat on the couch tonight, my back and brain aching from Doing All the Things this holiday season; my heart on cruise control because sometimes I Just Cannot Deal with all the Heart Things; my mouth running to remind kids of chores and chastising them for “not remembering” their work, as though that’s not simply part of the Human Condition.

I sat on the couch tonight, and I thought about the complexity of the year gone by and the undoubted challenges in the year ahead.

I sat on the couch tonight, and I thought about the joy and grief of wandering in the wilderness, which is where we’ve found ourselves in this season. I thought about how glad I am discard the false idol of safety and to release the pressure to conform in favor of being free to love my neighbor as myself.

I thought about what it is to be wild like the earth shakers and game changers.

I thought about what it might be to be wilder than I allow right now.

I thought about what it would look like to acknowledge I’m complex. 

To be fierce and a little feral.

To welcome both strength and weakness. To rest in either one. To fight neither.

I thought about what it might mean to allow myself to be intense without apology; to stop listening to the voices that tell me I’m too much; to give free rein to fervent kindness, bold joy, deep grief, and love which never fails. Even when they arrive in rapid succession. Even when they overlap and make things messier.

I thought about being wild.

I thought about what it might mean to be wilder. To be more free. To be more me, as I was made to be. As though I’m worth pursuing, even in the tangle and chaos of the wild. Especially there. 

So I picked my word. 

Be wilder.

Which is, of course, also bewilder. 

Because I want to remind myself that it’s good and right to become ever more free. And it’s also OK that there’s going to be some confusion. Some consternation. Some complexity. Some muck and some mess.

Welcome, Wild Ones. Come and be free.

With love,

Sometimes We Can Walk Through the Mystery and Not Even Know It’s There: Thoughts on the Cluster That Is 2017

Dec 17 2017

I have been moving at a frenetic pace, friends. Every minute of every day it seems, and I hardly have words to put to the whirlwind of desperate activity in my mind.

Two thousand seventeen has been a series of flash floods; powerful, destructive, and pulling everything off its foundation. I feel like I’ve spent December trying to distract myself from the devastation — QUICK, BETH! DO ALL THE THINGS! COOK! CLEAN! TRAVEL! MAKE CINNAMON BREAD, STAT! — and simultaneously picking through the rubble to see what’s left.

Refugee crisis = FLASH FLOOD.

Brexit = FLASH FLOOD. 

America elected the Lyingest President of All Time = FLASH FLOOD.

Trump, who brags about sexually assaulting women and bans immigrants during the largest displacement of vulnerable populations the world has ever known is mainly supported by Christian Evangelicals. FLASH FLOOD. 

Our umbrella group of churches has removed us from membership. FLASH FLOOD.

The camp our kids have always attended — the one at which Greg and I met and volunteered for 24 years — has notified those of our ilk (who are affirming and inclusive of our gender and sexual minority (GSM) neighbors) that we are no longer allowed to be in leadership roles. FLASH FLOOD.

And, of course, the knock-down, gut-punch, breathless realization that our GSM friends were systematically wounded by our churches and our camp all along, while we remained silent and were complicit in maintaining the power structure that caused such pain. FLASH FLOOD. And ugh. 

Flash floods, friends — calamity after calamity — are running down the hills of 2017 and crashing together at the bottom, the confluence too tumultuous to separate into streams that can can be crafted into concise explanations. Words become hard to shape from the madness, and my pace in trying to outrun the landslides keeps increasing. It’s like being manic, I suspect, this relentless frenzy I find so appealing lately. Like being on uppers, rushing from cooking to baking to cleaning to shopping to wrapping to cooking again. Running to events. Running up the stairs because I forgot my wallet. Running out the door to the next thing, and the next thing, and the next thing, and the next. No time to rest or else 2017 will catch me, and I’ll be swept away. 

My right butt cheek hurts — it has for days, so if anyone can explain why and what to do about a butt injury other than, you know, rest, please do tell — and also my left bicep, the space between my shoulders, and the back of my skull. I should sit down. I should go to sleep at a reasonable time. I should stop watching zit popping videos until midnight. Instead, I pop ibuprofen like it’s candy and keep going as fast as my internal monologue which never stops. “THOSE 6 LOAVES OF CINNAMON BREAD ARE NOT GOING TO MAKE THEMSELVES, BETH. DO MORE.”

Do you get it, friends? Do you know what I’m saying? 

I mean, I realize I could blame “the Season.” There’s so much to do for Christmas, after all, but if I’m honest it’s not Christmas. Sadly, no. The pressure comes from me in my haste to busy myself out of feeling all that 2017 has had to offer. 

But I went to church this morning — our church that kept us when the other churches had no room for us in the inn — and I sat with the cool college humans, and I sang the Christmas songs, and I discovered I have something important to tell those of us who are the Frenzied Folks right now. I remembered something critical. 

We are in the middle of the mess. 
Yes. OBVIOUSLY.
Which also means we need to be on the lookout for the magic.

I FORGOT for a while. I forgot that there is ALWAYS magic in the mess. Even though we talk about it ALL THE TIME here, I forgot until Pastor Kim talked about the Mystery. 

Pastor Kim is our children’s pastor. She wore her grey dreads up in a yellow wrap this morning, and she was very beautiful and very brave as she taught her lesson to the kids on the big brown rug, with us, the host of larger humans, looking on. 

“Sometimes we can walk through a Mystery and not even know it’s there,” she said. “And this is a time of Mystery, because we are waiting for Jesus to be born, but Jesus is also already here.”

Now, remember, friends, that you can substitute “Love” for “Jesus” anytime we get too Jesusy up in here, and the point is the same. Love made flesh and dwelling among us. Love that challenges everything we thought we knew. Love that champions the lonely and distressed. Love that is fierce. Love that makes the weak strong. Love that never fails. 

Sometimes we can walk through a Mystery and not even know it’s there. And this is a time of Mystery, because we are waiting for Love to be born, but Love is also already here. 

THE WORLD IS SUCH A MESS RIGHT NOW. But there is magic in the mess, friends. There is magic here, too, for those of us on the lookout. There is magic, called Love, and even as we’re longing for it, not sure we can wait for it to be made REAL, to be BORN already and dwell among us, it’s also already here. And we get to make more.

The flash floods of 2017 took out some of our foundations, sure, but only the faulty ones. False worship of America. False adherence to Silence and Compliance. The false idol of Maintaining the Status Quo. But I’m digging through the rubble now, and I’m starting to hit bedrock; a firmer foundations than the former could ever be. Two thousand seventeen has given me the gift of sight. The cards are on the table. We know where folks stand. We know who’s in. We know who’s out. And we get to pick where and with whom we stand. We get to pick what we stand for. 

As for me and my people, we serve Love. That’s it. That’s the foundation. So we stand with the vulnerable. We make camp in the wreckage with the outcasts. We share whatever little we have as refugees of another life, even if all we have is our words. We are the Magic-Bringers, after all. The Agents of Love. The Justice Mongers. The Voice Amplifiers. We are the Hope-ers who sit in the darkness and believe the dawn is coming. We are the ones grasp the hands of our neighbors and whisper, “You don’t wait alone.”

This year has asked a lot of us. A LOT, a lot. And next year looks to bring its own share of the mess, so we must be very brave. But remember how the Christmas story started, with an angel saying, “Do not be afraid.” Do not be afraid. We have every reason to be, but we can defy fear anyway. We can embrace the promise of dawn after darkness. We can search for the magic in the mess. And we can stand together on Love…

…which I’m sending you now,

I Had It All Together

Dec 6 2017

I had it all together yesterday. I woke up early. I ate breakfast. I drank an entire cup of coffee. I wore clothes that weren’t pajamas. I put on makeup so I didn’t look like the living dead. OK, fine; I had to throw the hair into a bad braid because who has time to do hair after all the above? But still, I had it all together yesterday.

I had it all together yesterday because I had a Place to Be; an Appointment volunteering at the local high school which made me feel magnanimous. I was both dressed and volunteering which qualify me for at least a few hours of super hero status, yes? Yes. I’m glad we agree on the criteria. 

So I had it all together yesterday. I volunteered at a school, and then I had a break, and then — wait for it — I volunteered again

Now, I realize there are parents in this world who volunteer regularly, in all the schools, all the time. They are not super heroes. They are magical, mythical creatures of light and love, imbued with benevolence and grace. They are better than super heroes, is what I’m saying. Still, being a Sometime Super is nothing to sneeze at, and I was super, if only for a day.

I had it all together yesterday. I walked with confident strides and shoulders back and smiled at All the People, as one does when one has it All Together. And so, to celebrate, I took myself to the Fancy Restaurant in town for lunch. Just Me, who had it all together, ordering the Cheapest Thing on the menu so I could sit and soak in the atmosphere, look at the giant, expensive Christmas decorations, and enjoy being pristine a few more minutes before going home where there are rice crispies ground into the couch and our giantest decoration is the tumbleweed of dog hair and spilled sprinkles roaming from room to room.

I had it all together yesterday until I laid my napkin in my lap and thus glanced down at my Super Self… which is when I realized I had my sweater on backwards and also inside out… which is when I hightailed it to the ladies’ room to fix the sweater… which is when I saw the Giant Spot on my pants… which is when I remembered my son “blessing” them with a handful of cupcake frosting… which is when I remembered I’d meant to wash these jeans but had relegated them to the recesses of my mind where all the non-urgent things go. You know, all the non-urgent things that don’t have to do with stopping someone’s bleeding or telling the legions to TURN DOWN THE TV VOLUME OR I’M TURNING IT OFF or running to the store for emergency toilet paper because no one ever puts that on the shopping list.

I had it all together yesterday until my clothes were on backwards and inside out and decorated with a spot that looked like feces but smelled like chocolate frosting. And until, while standing at the Fancy Sink in the Fancy Restroom of the Fancy Restaurant, using their Fancy Cloth Hand Towels to try to scrub the icing from my pants, I glanced in the Fancy Mirror to see that my hair had fallen out of its braid — or rather, half of it had while the other half struggled valiantly but futilely to stay coiffed. Really, by the time I noticed that, I just felt the hair was trying to fit in with its peers. The sweater and the pants had jumped off the cliff, so, by God, the hair was going to jump, too, and damn the consequences. 

But I had it all together yesterday, and even though I didn’t — not really — it felt good while it lasted.

Sincerely,

 

 

 

P.S. We are officially in Christmas Christmas season now, as opposed to Halloween Christmas or Thanksgiving Christmas. This is FULL CHRISTMAS, friends. Thus we begin our Christmas Christmas posts on this blog.

P.P.S. Christmas Christmas posts on this blog are the regular mish-mash of posts that wreak havoc and have no overarching theme other than the usual magic and mess and bizarre, beautiful bits about being both human and divine. 

P.P.P.S. I have things Planned — thoughts on faith, thoughts on politics, easy peasy recipes to share, an Escapist Book Club book for December, a Gorgeous Piece on Authenticity and Grace and Mental Health by my friend Eleanor who is Wise and Beautiful and Amazing, and more. When I listen to my fears, I’m afraid I’m going to give you whiplash, diving as I do from the mundane to the meaningful in rapid succession. When I listen to Love, which drives out fear, I realize this jumble of shallow and deep is simply Real Life, and Real Life is worth sharing. 

 

Quick Reminder, You Glamorous, Glamorous Moms: You’re Not Alone

Nov 25 2017

Hey.

So you know how you’re sitting quietly on the couch, minding your own business, next to the Christmas tree with the soft lights all around, and you think to yourself, what a wonderful world?

And you know how you’ve stayed in your short, cotton nightie all day because you have that sniffling, sneezing, stuffy head cold going around, but it doesn’t matter because no one’s going to see you anyway? You’re comfy and the ibuprofen’s working, so who even cares that your legs are prickly, your bra is God knows where, and your make-up is left over from yesterday so you’re sporting that whole strung-out raccoon look? 

And you know how you have a quilt on top of you and a pillow behind your back, and nothing pressing, and the children, praise Jesus, are all busy elsewhere and quiet so they’re probably setting the house on fire but who cares because you have, like, ten whole minutes entirely to yourself?

You’re with me, right?

Yes? 

You know how you got yourself a cup of French pressed coffee with just the right amount of cream, and it’s warm and perfect, and you set it down on the little table next to you, and you’re actually, for once in your life, drinking it before it gets cold?

And then you know how one of those children, bless his heart, decides to get the games down from the very top shelf of the bookcase behind the Christmas tree? And so said child must step over you and onto the arm of the couch and lean over the coffee and hang onto the tree for balance?

And then you know how the child overbalances and the tree tips and the games fall and the coffee crashes to ground and so does the child and most of the ornaments and there’s coffee and game pieces and shards of glass everywhere?

And you’re fine with all of that because the child is OK and you don’t have to go to the emergency room, so you pull the child from the mess and send him to get a towel and a broom and tell him it’s OK and everyone makes messes and I’ll clean this one up because, in our family, we help each other?

And you know how you feel rather kind and very heroic and like you rocked the poop out of motherhood, reacting with grace and compassion even though you’re sick and you could have been a total ass to your kid?

And then, you know how, in an effort to step in neither coffee nor glass, you drape yourself decorously over the couch to clean the mess? With grace and elegance? Pretty much exactly like a 1950s housewife who wears heels and pearls to polish her already pristine home?

And you know how your kid, that little turd, grabs your camera and takes a pic so you get to find it on your phone later and reminisce?

You know?

You know, right?

Well, me, too. And I just want you to know when that happens… you’re not alone, friend.

You are definitely not alone in this glamorous, glamorous life.

With love,

Introducing the Newest Member of Our Family… Genevieve the Refrigerator

Nov 20 2017

Dearest, dearest friends,

Please believe me when I say this comes as much a surprise to me as it does to you.

Please do not feel as though I’ve withheld information.

Please do not feel as though I’ve been keeping secrets.

I think by now you and I have Built Trust in such a way that you’ll believe me when I say secrets are my worst thing. I mean, I rock the heck out of keeping Other People’s secrets, but I have very few left of my own. I pretty much tell you All the Things, or, as Greg likes to say when he’s being Particularly Complimentary of my writing, “She’s not inaccurate.” Like, I have two secrets at this point, tops, and one of them is that I put Cadbury Mini-Eggs in my bra so they get partly melty before I eat them. The shell is PERFECT for that — thick enough to hold in all the gooey chocolate without smashing, thin enough to shatter in my teeth when the chocolate’s properly prepared. Now, yes; one could technically hold the mini-eggs in one’s hands until they get warm-but-not-too-warm and accomplish the same purpose, but the bra speeds that process right up, and everyone knows the More Melty Mini-Eggs, the Better. 

So I’m down to one secret now, and withholding information about adding to our appliance family is Not It. This was not part of the Plan, but life so rarely proceeds according to Planm right, friends? I’d like that on a bumper sticker, please: LIFE = Not Plan-Friendly. While sometimes the surprises are difficult and challenging, though, sometimes they’re AWESOME. Amazing. Serendipitous. And Just Delightful. This surprise is one of the latter, which is why I’m ecstatic to introduce the newest member of our family…

 

Genevieve the Refrigerator

Born in 1949, sweet Genevieve is a Hotpoint Super-Stor refrigerator, a behemoth in her day — top of the line, baby — and now a petite little darling. 

I found her on Craigslist in a moment that can only be called Divine Inspiration. 

Now, listen: it’s been a month, friends. A hard, long, amazing, awful, invigorating, life-draining MONTH. Situation Normal, in other words. Still, we’re TIRED. We’re very, VERY tired. In part because we’re made out of human, and as fallible and fabulous as that implies. In part because our kids who experience disability are in the midst of massive transitions to adulthood with all the angst and agony and triumph and sighing and paperwork one might expect. In part because OMG, AMERICA MAKES ME WANT TO FACEPALM TIMES INIFINITY. And in part because the Great Church Disintegration of 2017 continues to be laden with grief. There’s nothing quite like the heartbreak, friends, of watching my husband and young son curled around each other, sobbing because we’re no longer welcome at the camp we once thought was a safe place to learn and live and love each other well. And there’s nothing quite like the fierce joy of releasing things that were never really ours so we can pursue a wider grace and a deeper mercy and a love that knows no bounds. It’s all very Both/And around here these days. Loss and Longing and Love commingled. A month full of Neverending Tasks and Life Lessons and Clinging to Each Other and Really Big Feelings. 

So I did what anyone in my position would do. I went online. I scrolled through Facebook. I read articles. I watched every Michael McIntyre video I could find. I drafted Christmas lists. I decorated for Halloween-Thanksgiving-Christmas, which is just one holiday now instead of three because I do not have time for 3 holidays in less than 2 months. There are pumpkins on my porch and stockings over the fireplace. The tree is up and fully decorated. I planned a living room remodel I’ll never execute, and then I planned two more. I ate 37 bowls of cinnamon rice crispies and made 3 giant pans of lasagna. I started selling furniture we’ve stored in our garage for far too long. And I shopped Craigslist for things I don’t need. 

Which is when Genevieve appeared.

And the heavens parted.

And light shone down.

And Jesus said, “DO YOU SEE HER, BETH? SHE’S ONLY $300, AND SHE MUST BE YOURS.”

I agreed with Jesus except the part about $300 — sometimes Jesus doesn’t understand Craigslist pricing — so I offered $200 and bought her for $250. 

Then I told Greg our Good News; that we were replacing our Much Larger, Modern, Functional, Ice and Water Dispensing Fridge with a Much Smaller Fridge from 1949 that Probably Works and Has a Tiny Freezer and No Ice Maker and Will Need Defrosting! ALSO, SHE’S SO PRETTY AND MATCHES OUR STOVE. 

Greg was ecstatic.

Then I told him he got to drive two hours in the middle of his work day to deadlift it into our truck, but not to worry because I also volunteered my father and my spindly little 11yos to help with the lifting, and — BONUS — my pretty princess self to supervise. 

He was over the moon.

And so Genevieve has joined our lives and our hearts. And I am love-loving her all the livelong day. 

Please join me in welcoming this newest addition to the Woolsey home.

With love,

 

 

 

P.S. Little Ms. Genevieve lived the first 68 years of her life in beautiful old craftsman house here in Oregon. She shared her space with a wood and oil burning stove. When the house was purchased recently, the new owners decided to remodel the kitchen. God knows why. 😉 Thus the need for G’s rehoming. Our research says she may run quite happily for another 30+ years. Or she may crap out next week, in which case she’s getting a new compressor and becoming the world’s raddest kegerator. This is what we call a classic win/win. 

P.P.S. As you may already know, given our crowd-sourced kitchen remodel project of yesteryear, Ms. G joins Betty the stove (1956) and Bud the Wiser, our bear beer bottle opener (2016). Betty, of course, is named for my grandmother, Betty June, who wanted Everything to be Fancy All the Time, and Genevieve is named for my great, great aunt, Betty June’s older sister. Bud is named for Budweiser because beer. We’re all doing well and settling in together, and so far Bud and Betty haven’t smothered Genevieve in her sleep, so I assume they adore their new sister.

P.P.P.S. Not to brag too, TOO much, but Genevieve is the easiest and quietest and prettiest little fridge that was ever born, and I loved her the moment I laid eyes on her. 

P.P.P.P.S. Greg asked if he gets to have a 1950’s housewife to go along with Betty and Genevieve. I think Greg might be trying to commit suicide. Kind of like Death by Cop, except this is Death by Wife. Betty, Genevieve and I are still offended. Also, we three cuss like sailors. 

THE END

Except that I JUST POSTED THE 2018 RETREATS. I would love (love, love) to hang out with you at the gorgeous Oregon Coast in 2018. Check out the link to learn more about the 4, small group retreat we’re offering this year — a retreat for book lovers, one focused on food and wine, one on writing, and one on mindfulness. If you’re looking for rest, respite and relaxation in a warm, welcoming community, these are the retreats for you. If you’re offended by stories about stuffing Cadbury Mini-Eggs in my bra, on the other hand, you might want to skip these. 😉 

Quick Life Tip

Nov 6 2017

Dear friends,

Just a teeny, tiny quick tip for you today.

If somebody says, “Hey! You look really nice today,” maybe just say thank you.

Thank you is enough.

Thank you is not as awkward as Other Options.

Thank you is socially appropriate. And, sweet friend, you actually do not need to offer an excuse for looking nice.

Maybe, for example, do not say, “Yeah, I would’ve worn my usual jeans except I put them on last night to go out, and I realized they smell like butt. I suppose I should’ve expected that since I can’t remember the last time I washed them, but it still came as a surprise. I sprayed them with perfume, which, as you might suspect, made them smell like Perfume and Butt. It really wasn’t an improvement over Just Butt, but at least it’s the smell of I Tried, you know? I wore them anyway because I was already running late, but I vowed I would not wear them again until I actually wash them because I have standards. Eventually. I have Eventual Standards. So, because I’ve put on, like, 30 pounds over the last couple years, I only have the one pair of jeans right now, which means the inner thighs are practically see-through and in imminent danger of ripping and presenting a serious social hazard. This dress is the only other thing that fits. So, ¯\_(ツ)_/¯, that’s why I look nice, I guess. My butt-smelling jeans are on the fritz.”

Maybe do not say that, because then the complimentor will look at you, and you will look at the complimentor, and there is no where to go from there.

In conclusion, YOU MAY SQUIRM at compliments. They may make you itchy and uncomfortable. But I assure you — and TAKE THIS FROM SOMEONE WHO KNOWS FROM RECENT EXPERIENCE — it is way, way less awkward to just say thank you.

Repeat after me: JUST SAY THANK YOU.

Your Friend,

 

 

Gun Rights AND Gun Control: What If We ACTUALLY FOLLOWED the Second Amendment?

Nov 5 2017

I can start this blog post one of two ways: I can either tell you I’m the proud daughter of a Marine who responsibly owns guns, in which case you’ll think I’m a proponent of Gun Rights, or I can tell you I’m a pacifist Quaker married to a conscientious objector, in which case you’ll think I’m a proponent of Gun Control.

You’d be right.

Yes, I am.

I’m also, quite frankly, BAFFLED by the conversation about guns in the United States of America, and if I could just take one minute to Piss Off All the People, I’d  like to propose a solution.

It’s just, I have this idea, after 1,000 conversations with my gun-toting father who floated it first, and after 1,000 more chats with my peacenik friends… that we could do this RADICAL THING in America and ACTUALLY FOLLOW THE SECOND AMENDMENT.

Usually, public conversations on guns go like this, “I HAVE A RIGHT TO MY GUNS BECAUSE THE CONSTITUTION SAYS SO,” and then, “BUT PEOPLE ARE DYING,” and then, “BUT GUN RIGHTS,” and then, “BUT GUN CONTROL,” and I realize I may be being simplistic here, but the Second Amendment LITERALLY ALREADY SOLVED THIS PROBLEM.

Have you read it recently? The Second Amendment? It’s only 27 words long, but I rarely see it quoted in articles debating gun rights and gun control. It goes like this:

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

In other words, yes; Americans have the right to keep and bear arms. And yes; that right shall not be infringed. AND ALSO, these rights are to be exercised within the parameters of a well regulated militia. TRAINING, in other words. ORGANIZED. Within a COMMUNITY of people that supervises and monitors the use of said weapons. 

Listen; I get it. I understand that there are Originalists and Textualists constantly debating what Militia means… what well-regulated means… what exactly is “necessary to the security of a free State”… and whether any of those refer to individual rights, community rights, states’ rights or all of the above. But regardless of how you interpret any of those definitions, it remains that our Founders set parameters and presumed some type of coordination, administration and management of our arms-bearing citizens. And it remains that we currently have none.

I’ve heard my friends and I’ve seen the memes that if we did nothing after Sandy Hook, we never will. I’ve felt the same hopelessness watching the innocent die month after month, year after year, and I doubt that today — the day 26 more Americans died in a mass shooting, this time while sitting in church in Texas — will be the reason we finally act. But although I give in to despair for a time, I refuse to dwell there. I refuse to stop talking about it. I refuse to stop pushing for solutions that both protect the fundamental American right to bear arms AND the fundamental human right to basic safety.

Maybe we could start by actually following the Second Amendment. Or maybe that’s far too practical. I’m curious what you think…