“Rough Hewing” in the House of Representatives

This old hippie bromide from the Sixties, though a bromide, is very profound. It reflects detachment from the exigencies of life, realizing that be it bad or good, “This too shall pass.” And that is helpful when life gets difficult but it is also helpful to apply it to the whole of your life and even to the whole of life itself.. It helps bring to mind the transitory nature of life and reflects a latent hope that even though “this” will pass, the process of life will continue.

I have been applying this bit of wisdom to our Congress’s current impasse. Now I have intense feelings about this matter and am not remaining aloof from the issues at all. I am even angry at the way a handful of hyper-conservative Republicans can hold our entire government and country hostage. But my anger and the whole of my emotions are mitigated by the realization that, “This too shall pass.”

Now it is easy for me to be so philosophical about the issue as I can handle the impact…for a while. Others are not so fortunate. Others are hurting already and more will join them as this political battle of wills continues. Yet this minority of the House…some thirty in number… will not budge because they know they are right. One of them even said as much. And people who “know” they are right are really scary. I know as I used to be one of them until I finally learned that my confidence was specious, that it was actually a desperate effort to hide a profound existential insecurity and doubt about myself and life itself; and, yes, doubt of God.

Yet, once again I return to, “This too shall pass” for the whole of human experience is a tempest in a tea pot in some sense and this particular present-day tempest is really pretty trivial in the grand scheme of things. Those who are dug in at the heels on the issue could benefit from realizing this and perhaps they could be less intransigent. They should remember the observation of Shakespeare, “There is a destiny that doeth shape our ends, rough hew them how we may.” And, though there is “rough hewing” underway presently, I have firm confidence in that Destiny that is always Present, always doing its handiwork always in spite of those who take themselves to be so important.


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