As we resist, don't forget to embrace

Opinion: Ken Trainor

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By Ken Trainor

Staff writer

Winter arrived mid-November in the Midwest right after the midterms. We scarcely had time to celebrate before the snow started falling. 

Ah, the midterms: Chalk one up for the resistance. 

Resist the temptation to stop resisting, however, because the election was just the first step toward reclaiming our democracy.

Resist the wannabe tyrants who dishonor our country, but embrace the honor of being one of many chosen to save your country.

The resistance is entering its third year. Two more long years to go until the crucial 2020 election. To resist effectively, we need to balance our energy with embrace. Resistance is inherently negative, angry, exhausting. Resistance alone results in bitterness. Check out the average Trump rally. 

We can't resist for long if we don't also embrace the goodness all around us.

You've been given a great gift, Clarence Oddbody told George Bailey: the chance to see what the world would be like without you. We've been given a greater gift: the chance to see what the world could be like with us — fully awake and engaged, highly resolved to bring about, at long last, Abraham Lincoln's "new birth of freedom."  

Lincoln said, "The fiery trial through which we pass will light us down in honor or dishonor to the latest generation. We, even we here, hold the power and bear the responsibility. … As our case is new, so we must think anew and act anew. We must disenthrall ourselves and then we shall save our country."

It is … fortunately, happily … a country worth saving — so we embrace what is right and good about America even as we resist the cartoon buffoons currently running it (into the ground).

Resist Trump, but embrace the Anti-Trump: Someone with genuine concern for the well-being of others, an unerring moral compass, who treats everyone with respect — especially women, African Americans and Muslims. Well-read, informed, law-abiding, emotionally mature. A truth teller. Someone whose words can be trusted. Words that mean something, words that matter. The Anti-Trump. 

Someone like Abraham Lincoln. 

And maybe someone like us.

Embrace and resist. Resist and embrace. The balance is everything.

When you live in a dark time, become the light.

Pay attention to the surrounding beauty and meaning — so easy to overlook.

Embrace the face-to-face, the eye-to-eye, the sacred space between I and You.

The place where "we" comes into being.

Regard everyone you meet or pass on the street as a person of quality — because, almost invariably, they are.

Resist worst-case scenarios, conspiracy thinking, conventional explanations.

Resist materialistic excess, which starves the spirit.

Accept what can't change, but embrace what can.

Resist inequality, but also embrace equality.

Embrace the rural Americans who feel left out.

Embrace the newest Americans who don't feel welcome.

Embrace the millennials, women, people of color, who represent the future of a changing nation.

Resist the phrase, "I'll never see that in my lifetime," because the Berlin Wall came down and the Cubs won a World Series so all bets are off.

Embrace the long game.

Embrace the light that softens our longest nights.

Embrace "Collateral Beauty," as the film by that name puts it.

Embrace Oak Park — all the more after viewing the Starz docu-series, America to Me. I've never been prouder.

There is so much to embrace … 

Winter, even when it comes too soon,

The night, even at its darkest, 

Music that connects mind and heart, the key to setting free the soul,

Dreams from the deep that remind me I have barely tapped the reservoir of imagination,

The fact that things often turn out better than predicted or expected — or even deserved,

Embrace the bliss you just can't resist.

Resist the worst, embrace the best, and then we shall save our country.

As we prepare to enter another year filled with outrage and energy-draining resistance, consider the following lines, inspired by Psalm 98, from Minyan: Ten Principles for Living a Life of Integrity by Rabbi Rami Shapiro:

To sing a new song, I must sing with a new voice.

I must let go the known and embrace the unknown, 

for the new is always a surprise. 

To sing a new song, I must open myself to wonder. 

I must embrace the fullness of mind and body. 

I must wash myself in the totality of Life, 

its births and its deaths, its risings and its passings. 

I must let go the boxes into which I stuff the stuff of life 

and allow what Is to speak its truth. 

And then I shall take that truth and sing it aloud. 

With lyre and with drum, with voice and with silence, 

I will sing a song that surprises even God. 

And in that surprise will be a great deliverance.


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