How to Channel Divine Rage for a Better World
I think of the divides to heal in my own family and what conversations I could start to make things better.
Valerie Kaur, a leader, civil rights activist, lawyer and award-winning filmmaker, released a brief and inspiring video following the attack on the U.S. Capitol. In it, she speaks of the outrage that so many of us felt as we watched the assault on one of our most treasured national spaces by white supremacists, conspiracy theorists and thugs. Violent insurgents egged on by the President himself. Mostly white males, who weren’t being sprayed back with a wave of bullets the way Black men would have been.
Kaur called what we were experiencing “Divine Rage.”
In a nation where rage is considered threatening, Kaur gives us permission to feel and experience this kind of rage. The flashing of the eyes, the rapid heart-rate, the guttural “NO!” that many experienced watching the events of January 6th unfold.
Divine Rage calls us into action. It invites us into courage and bravery on behalf of our nation, our communities, our families. “The aim of Divine Rage is not vengeance,” says Kaur. “It is to reorder the world. Our task is to harness our rage. To channel that rage into creative, non-violent reform.”
Clearly, we are in a time of reordering in the world.
Our political system is deeply divided. Our education system is failing. Our health system is stretched to the limits and beyond. Our planet is heating up. Our families are being torn apart and estranged over disparate ideas and ideals. The work of healing and rebuilding and remaking our country will take all of us, not just our President. We the people.
So I urge you to ask yourself, as I’ve been asking myself:
How can I focus my rage with precision and power?
I was at my desk writing. I felt so small, so insignificant. So unable to make a difference. And then suddenly I saw two small sugar ants walk across my desk. Mind you, my office is on the second floor of our house, so this was no meager adventure for the tiny creatures. I had not seen sugar ants in my office before.
Then I remembered the message ants carry symbolically to us humans — patience and perseverance. Ants move an entire mountain, one small bit at a time. They don’t doubt their significance, and they certainly aren’t stopped by it. They are mighty, one small bit at a time.
They seemed to call to me, “You can do it! Grab a small bit and get moving!”
The wisdom of the ants. So, I decided to write this article. I’ll keep listening for opportunities to engage my courage and heart. I think of the divides to heal in my own family and what conversations I could start to make things better.
Who will you be in the reordering of the world? Will you be a voice for good? Will you bring courage beyond what you can imagine will be demanded of you? Will you stand rooted, heart pounding, stomach turning, and not back down? Bring patience and perseverance, for we are going to need it.
I stand with you ready to reorder our nation into a tolerant, multi-racial democracy.