When I get accused of being something (eg a feminist, a socialist, focussing too much on community) I take it as a badge of honour. In the 80s we used to apply the tenet – If you a Christian would there be enough evidence to convict you? Before conviction you would have to be noticed, accused, arrested and post conviction there would be the sentencing and maybe even rehabilitation.
I fall way short on many fronts where despite my values and aspirations, they are not fully realised into actions visible. I support the end of plastic bags, yet you will find a roll of cling wrap in my cupboard. I know climate change is real, yet my transport options don’t always reflect my understanding of the contribution I am making to extreme weather events. I have a vigilance around sexism, inequity, racism and the common good and yet there are times when I seem to ‘go on holiday’ from these values – a little relaxation and before long it appears I have abandoned such values and fallen into a chasm of carefree behaviours! Living intentionally brings alertness and requires you to be awake and sometimes, just sometimes, flirting with sleepiness seems reasonable.
The insignia of self-respect is the reward for the charges being laid.
In a week of finding new ways to live and be, I find a promise to tomorrow is being fostered by humility and the breath takes the voice on a journey to conviction. Stripping away, like an acoustic session in a crowded bar, knowing there is sound coming to the ear, but not always knowing what you are hearing: a familiar phrase or chord that echoes in muscle memory or tugs at the heart, as the static around the sound fades and clarity arrives – that is the moment I become a convict. At that very moment, I am a hostage to truth, tried and sentenced in the court of fact. Vulnerability comes as a consequence of those early acts of audacity, and arrives in its fullest form, when you face the reality of the accusation being laid. My promise to tomorrow is to keep taking the risk of being accused and striving to be worthy of being convicted.