A Prayer for Those Warding Off Cynicism
by Meg Riley
“No matter how much contempt I have for society, it is nothing compared to the contempt society has for me.” —Agnes Angst, a Lili Tomlin punk rock character
It would be so easy to climb on that sled and fly down the hill…
The hill of I don’t care, the hill of sarcastic remarks and barbed putdowns.
About faith. About politics. About human nature.
There is so much gravity pulling us there.
So many snide remarks we want to make, so many ways
We want to show that we are smart enough to know
That the systems are rigged, that the emperor has no clothes,
That the lies are so deep you have to wear waders.
It would be easy.
Unless we imagine that shining face of someone we love,
A young child, perhaps—
Pure trust, the child or grandchild or neighbor or friend,
Who sees straight into our hearts, and we into theirs…
Perhaps you only imagine the child. Perhaps you don’t need to.
Perhaps you see the hill and red lights begin to flash, alarms scream at you,
NO! Don’t do it! Once you are on that ride, it is way too hard to get off again,
And you fly by the ugliness, yes, but also the beauty,
All of it gone by in an instant,
A blur in the distance.
Meg Riley is senior minister at CLF. She’s been a UU minister for twenty years. As a UU kid in West Virginia, she quickly learned to enjoy being ‘different,’ which has served her well in a ‘different’ life. Riley lives in Minneapolis, where she enjoys walking by lakes, gardening, reading and writing, and in social media, where she enjoys hanging out, keeping up with people, and playing the occasional game of Scrabble. She is the parent of a teenager, and the companion of a number of four legged friends.