When I was a little girl, my Great Aunt Lily Pierce Heiler used to come over from England every summer to visit. She drank tea, and so, I wanted to drink tea. All I remember is that it was sweet and warm and yummy…and to this day I drink my tea strong with lots of milk and sugar. Mimi was my maternal grandmother who taught me to quickly sip up the bubbles from the top of the cup before they disappeared. She said they brought money. And this morning I poured my coffee and sipped up the bubbles…
When Maya Angelou was asked in an interview if she were a Christian, she said, “I’m practicing…” I like that attitude. I’m practicing…I’ll never entirely get it. There is an internet pastor who claims that some of the most powerful women – including Dr. Angelou – are (or were) actually practicing witches, to which I reply, “we can only hope.” I don’t see these things as dichotomous any more than I see God separate from science. Science has begun to prove God now – we’re catching up with Heaven’s time.
It seems to me that the core, or underlying, evil in the world is not the bigotry of racism or poverty, but the self righteousness that causes it. And witches, self-proclaimed as “practicing”, or perhaps completely unaware of their actions, as Mimi, see the discrepancies. They are the seers. Where would we be if evil weren’t recognized and called out? If no one stood and faced the dragon and proclaimed, “You shall not pass!,” or asserted “Get thee behind me.”
Jesus left us a treasure map to the Kingdom. He asked us to approach life as little children…aware of our own innocence and the innocence of our human brother’s and sister’s. That’s what good witches do. With no intent of personal gain, they see all sides and stand up for the innocence of us all. They protect our sacred curiosity.
No one is born evil; evil is made. I think Scott Peck described it best in People Of The Lie. He illustrated how a poor decision veers you off course, and as time plays out and other decisions are based on that one, you stray further and further away from who you once were, from your healthy possibilities. It seems unlikely we can experience awareness of innocence and be self-righteous at the same time.
Brene Brown advises we practice vulnerability, and I think she is on to something. Vulnerability and curiosity, the willingness to be unknowing. My grandmother Mimi was from Little Rock. She thought singing and dancing could cure just about any ill…and she lived twenty-eight years beyond a terminal diagnosis. She had a funny way of speaking. She was never afraid to admit that she didn’t know something when asked a question. She would answer “I am not knowing.”
I like that attitude, too…I am not knowing.
I do think our tightly clutched beliefs can be the demise of our health, our strength, our joy. They lead us to that one poor decision that veers us off course and we find ourselves deep in the woods before we realize darkness is upon us. In sacred curiosity I must always question my beliefs in order to continue to turn toward the light. It’s a good practice.
“It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.” -Mark Twain