My spiritual director often needs to remind me to keep my nose to the grindstone. I value her wisdom greatly. And so, I have been learning the deceptively simple task of keeping my nose to the grindstone.
This valuable piece of guidance is akin to another old adage about sorting and throwing chaff to the wind.
Why are these thoughts finding their way to this blog?
I have been angry—very, very angry. The notion that my country is being sucked into a giant dismemberment of our democracy makes me onfiresicktomystomachwantingtothrowthings angry.
Years ago, I took a similar anger to confession. I spoke with a priest I did not know. He advised me wisely—do something holy with this anger.
Holy anger requires focus, discernment, prayer. And thus, the part about chaff in the wind becomes relevant. Get rid of the stuff that clogs the process of discernment, prayer, focus. Throw it to the wind and see what settles, what has gravity. That is where the focus lies.
As I sort through the detritus, I discover the gems among the waste that have been with me all along. These items need expression to make a difference, to vent well that holy anger, and to use that anger for a positive outcome. [This is the nose to the grindstone part]–I am compelled to:
- Use my voice in a tone that commands listening and that speaks something worth saying and hearing
- Back up my words with actions—actions that have meaning such as phone calls and letters to my government reps; reading for facts and fact checking what I am reading; sharing this information to a wide audience; learning, learning, learning; protesting in appropriate and non-violent ways.
- Pray for peace, for understanding, for just works, for healing, for truth
- Work at dialogue
- Challenge appropriately
- Stand tall, proud, and use my words
If I can find the courage to live out these works of integrity, I believe I shall have a well pointed nose…will you join with me?