Thursday, June 07, 2007

sit, walk, stand

I think that's the name of a book.

"Sit, walk, stand" by Watchman Nee.

The title always grabbed me, though I never read the book - just liked reading its spine every time I walked past the shelf! And the author's name is interesting too. Watchman Nee. What does that mean?

I'm talking out of my nose here, but I think "Sit, walk, stand" provides insights into Ephesians, describing a process for gaining spiritual maturity. (Which probably means I should sit down right now and do nothing else until I have read, digested, and incorporated every word into my life. Meh)

Anyway, the point of this post has nothing to do with that book. It's really about my journey as an environmental activist. Actually that's probably too generous a description... this post is really about my journey as a would-be environmental activist who is scared stupid by the potential ramifications of sticking her neck out too far, so she makes timid forays into the world of activism and waits expectantly, longingly for an approving pat on the head by big time activists.

Ah well. We're all on a journey I suppose. At this stage my journey does not include dreadlocks, recycled corduroy jeans or anything involving chains and large machinery. It does however, include finding my voice and maturing in my stance against the proposed pulp mill. Tracing my growth so far I see that I have learned to sit (at the computer, in a chair, reading information for and against the mill), walk (slapping the pavement in the delivery of pamphlets) and stand (on a stall in the mall). This is progress. I am feeling stronger in the fight to prevent this mill from ever seeing the light of day.

It's a funny thing this taking action. I'm finding myself all knotted up inside with a multitude of thoughts and emotions. Pride, courage, audacity. Fear, apology, cringe factor. Fury, determination, will power. Shyness, uncertainty, disbelief. I can't quite believe I'm doing this.

On the one hand the dull 'plop' of each pamphlet dropping into a letterbox fills me with an incredible sense of pride and achievement - I'm doing something to try and stop this monstrosity while others sit back and let it happen. On the other hand I feel bashful - I'm not really an activist, please don't think of me as a wild reactionary refusing to see the benefit of any form of development. I'm just delivering pamphlets for the exercise!

As I stood in the mall with the wind whipping through every last shred of clothing (think street-converted-to-pedestrian-precinct malls here, not covered shopping-centre-away-from-the-elements malls) I held my head high, happy to endure the cold for the cause of good. (It was so cold that after three hours I could actually feel my thought processes slowing down) Yet as the business men walked past with derisive looks I wanted to call out, "Hey, don't judge me. Maybe I'm wrong, but can we at least talk about it instead of this posturing and casting looks askance?" And when the mother repeatedly told her seven year old that what I was saying was all a load of crap I don't know what I felt. Mostly sad for the boy, who looked kind of curious, and a bit cross with the mother for passing on such terrible interpersonal skills to her son.

Anyway, I'm rambling. This has been an interesting experience... is an interesting experience even, because I'm not done yet! I'm examining my beliefs, testing out my boundaries and growing all the time. I recommend it - nothing like getting out of the comfort zone for stretching who you are!

So, sit, walk, stand. That's me on my environmental journey. I think I've made it to the equivalent of being a toddler now! Next it's the gianormous street rally and march - bring on adolescence I say.

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At 3:07 am, June 08, 2007, Blogger Deanna said...

I like your perspective, Cecily. Good analogy of growing up into doing something you know is right. I have two friends who've marched way out of their comfort zones when issues became for them more than a passing comment to toss. Neither one has seen dramatic results in the right direction yet, I'm sorry to say. But observing their struggles and personal gains, I can't help but see this type of journey as worthwhile.

At 10:45 am, June 08, 2007, Anonymous Sandy said...

I agree with Deanna. The journey is worthwhile, it prepares us for the next. Perhaps we all get a little stronger and our boxed walls have more cushion once we learn what we're capable of. You'll be bigger and better for your next fight. Good for you Cecily!

At 3:45 am, June 09, 2007, Blogger Pam said...

My daughter works in a Christian bookstore and when I mentioned the title, she said, "by Watchman Nee?" and told me it was about Ephesians. Not that you needed confirmation...

I agree with Deanna too, and I admire you for taking a stand, especially when it involves being physically cold, verbally challenged, and sometimes standing alone.

At 6:24 am, June 09, 2007, Blogger Robyn said...

Go Cec Go!!! I'm sorry you had yucky looks and rude people, if its any consolation you're making me more environmentally conscious although I'm glad you aren't chained to any trees :)


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