The Curious Case of Allyship

This is my daughter. A couple of years ago, we took a road trip down south to the Great Sand Dunes and she started doing backbends and cartwheels and all of her gymnastics contortionist moves in the sand, the whipping wind pushing against her as she sought to find the balance between uphill, downhill, back, forward and down. I asked her to walk out into the sand and do her thing, trying to capture a shot of stillness in a moment of turbulence. She held that pose for longer than I could have imagined until eventually she had to put her feet back on the sand and disturb the landscape with her footprints. 

The best tool I have to communicate is my writing. I have words that reach the far recesses of thought, reflection and action if anyone takes the time to read them. Unfortunately, social media is not that place, but I try anyway. I am like my daughter in this case—my ability to flex and hold places of stillness for others to capture in their mind’s eye is what I am best at. We bend and contort ourselves into shapes that become tangible for the intangible, the themes of the day a metaphor for uphill, downhill, back, forward and down. 

I am impressed with the level of allyship that I have witnessed in the last week regarding our national events although eventually, the gentle repose will fall and the feet will need to come back down towards the landscape. Those same feet will leave indelible footprints of responsibility and irresponsibility or they will be erased in just a short amount of time, the next wind of change obscuring that which comes before it. There is no good or bad or right or wrong, just the bend and the flex and the gravity with which we must succumb to eventually.

I have seen memes and videos and posts and proclamations about allyship, each voice clamoring to be louder than the next while the cause gets lost along the way. This is what saddens me the most. In a recent conversation with a friend, I said: “The arrow and the aim are correlated. Yet, others only hold one or shoot for the other. Not both.” While our intentions are wonderful in developing allyship, sometimes, reaching a goal without understanding the tools we need to attain it is why we will ultimately fail. Even so, we receive mixed messages. Do this. Don’t do that. Be this. Don’t be that. Know this. Don’t know that. You cannot win either way. This, you should know.

We are the pulpit, the sermon, the pastor, the church, the pew, and the people. We lay our hands on the book that guides us but all the words are metafiction. The truth can only be teased out of the comb when it’s not being simultaneously dragged through already-resistant locks. You will not win either way. This, you should know. 

But in the end, no matter how often your social media will fill up and drain with “Do this. Don’t do that. Be this. Don’t be that. Know this. Don’t know that.”, keep trying. Look for the mark. But look for the arrow, too.

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