Better Than Any Argument

However just and anxious I have been
I will stop and step back
from the crowd of those who may agree
with what I say, and be apart.
There is no earthly promise of life or peace
but where the roots branch and weave
their patient silent passages in the dark;
uprooted, I have been furious without an aim.
I am not bound for any public place,
but for ground of my own
where I have planted vines and orchard trees,
and in the heat of the day climbed up
into the healing shadow of the woods.
Better than any argument is to rise at dawn
and pick dew-wet berries in a cup.
~Wendell Berry “A Standing Ground”
from The Selected Poems of Wendell Berry

This is an age of argument: silence is labeled violence so we’re induced to have our say and look for others to listen and support our point of view. Without mutual agreement, there is plenty of fodder for argument with a duel-to-the-death determination to win others over to our way of thinking.

Agreeing to disagree doesn’t seem to be an option any longer. Why can’t our debates simply settle down to get on with life and find a way to live alongside each other? Instead, if I don’t see it your way, I’m morally deficient or hostile or worst of all I’m not an ally, so by modern definition, I’ve become the enemy.

But I’m not the enemy and never want to be.

It’s enough to make one retreat from the fray altogether. Those of us who have been around awhile know: anger puts a match to feelings that burn hot inside and outside. Initially debate is energizing with a profound sense of purpose and direction, yet too soon it becomes nothing but ashes.

I refuse to be furious for the sake of fury and indignation. Arguments, tempting as they may be in the heat of the moment, don’t hold a candle to the lure of sharing sweet fruit of the garden and the cool shadows of the forest with those who need it most.

So come in and help me eat berries and cherries but leave your arguments at the door. You can pick them up later on your way out if you wish, but most likely they will have forgotten all about you and wandered away while you were busy living life.

Fickle things, arguments – they tend to fizzle out until someone decides to light a match to them again.

9 thoughts on “Better Than Any Argument

  1. Loved this so much. My son has chosen to sever ties with me because we don’t agree on politics. I never argued with him, he simply knows what I believe and objects so strongly that this was his decision. My heart grieves the loss of him and prays that we will be reconciled one day…in Him. Thanks for your writing!!♥

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Colossians 4: 6 Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.

    Ephesians 4: 31 Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, with all malice,
    32 and be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.

    I am trying to live by these eternal and beautiful truths. …have mercy on me a sinner, O God!!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. ‘Why can’t our debates simply settle down to get on with life and find a way to live alongside each other?’–such a good question, Emily. So many unanswered ones…

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Weary of the fray I Sit in silence Knowing that if I open the door There will be violence And there will be noise inside and outside my head And there will be those who want me dead again And those who only want to live

    There is no going back to the way it was And the way forward is dark and forbidding But that way we must go

    Weary of the fray but no ways tired.

    Would you have time to agree to disagree this week? love Kim

    Silent violence is a Quiet riot Rampaging Down the streets of the mind Shattering windows through which we see the world

    The next circle is: Saturday 11 July 2020 Our speaker for this Saturday’s James Patterson Healing & Reconciliation Circle is: ROKHAYA DIALLO THEME: WHITE PRIVILEGE & UNCONSCIOUS RACISM ROKHAYA DIALLO is a French journalist, writer and award winning filmmaker, widely recognized for her work in favor of racial, gender and religious equality.

    Raised in the working class neighborhoods of Paris, she grew into a committed woman who with determination and conviction has made her mark on France and the rest of the world. Making the most of her natural curiosity and hands-on methods, she has hosted radio and television programs, produced films, authored several books and numerous articles and participates regularly in high-level conferences around the world. As a figure to be reckoned with in the public arena, Rokhaya is one of the rare women of her generation whose voice has become an integral part of the world of media.

    Rokhaya has published both in French and international media including : The Guardian in the UK, Al Jazeera or The Washington Post in the USA. She also investigates for the INROCKUPTIBLES magazine and ELLE Magazine on subjects as far ranging as the revolution in Bahrain, discrimination in Tunisia or civil rights in the US and Black Lives Matter.

    She has worked with the biggest French channels, including France 2. Due to her passionate activism for race and gender equality, Rokhaya has often faced tenacious interlocutors in the course of many television debates. She was also hosting Bet Talk and Bet Buzz for BET France. Today Rokhaya is a commentator for a television and radio show : On refait le monde for RTL and on LCI for a political show named 24h Pujadas.

    Rokhaya’s website Rokhaya Diallo – Anti-racism activist Don’t try to fit in: make the world embrace who you are | Rokhaya Diallo | TEDxUBIWiltz Subscribe to her YouTube Channel HERE. ZOOM MEETING INFORMATION Time (the circle is 90min but please allow 2hours): 6AM-8AM Los Angeles 9AM-11AM New York 3PM-5PM South Africa 9PM-11PM Bali To join the Zoom Meeting, CLICK HERE Meeting ID: 843 3588 1634 Password: 986557 Dial by your location +1 346 248 7799 US (Houston) +1 408 638 0968 US (San Jose) +1 646 876 9923 US (New York) +1 669 900 6833 US (San Jose) +1 253 215 8782 US (Tacoma) +1 301 715 8592 US (Germantown) +1 312 626 6799 US (Chicago)

    Find your local number: https://us02web.zoom.us/u/kdqn4lmXlS  Love & Blessings, Swaady “Racial healing is a process that restores individuals and communities to wholeness, repairs the damage caused by racism and transforms societal structures into ones that affirm the inherent value of all people.” — #HowWeHeal

    22 Rue Norvins Paris IDF 75018 FRANCE

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    Liked by 1 person

  5. Amen. Amen! AMEN. amen….
    Come and sit with me watching the birds…the goldfinch, the catbird, the bluebird.
    They calm me. They bless me. Berries and birds…all part of God’s creation. And so are we…
    Praying for God’s healing touch.

    Liked by 1 person

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