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Friday, May 28, 2010

Friday Five- Hand on Fire

Friday Five: I would put my hand in the fire for that
--Robert Mapplethorpe, Hand in Fire, 1985

There is a German expression: ich würde die Hand dafür ins Feuer legen, which means: “I would put my hand in the fire for that.”

I learned it many years ago, while reading the Best Reference Letter Ever: written by a very distinguished linguistics professor for a student who went on to win a prestigious international scholarship. This student, he said, was destined for greatness; and he submitted his judgment with the certainty of the expression above.

I’ve always held the concept as a very important indicator in my mind. “Would I put my hand in the fire for that?” I sometimes think, and it helps me to make a decision or see a situation more clearly. It’s similar to “is this the battlefield I want to die on?”

These days (certainly as every day) there seems to be so much difficulty, wrong, pain, injustice, and mismanagement in our world, and I need a little revitalization. Often when I feel this way, I’ll write a list of things for which I’m grateful, but that’s certainly been done, and I need a bit of a stronger draught.

So, what are five things for which would you put your hand in the fire? Things / people / causes in which you believe passionately and completely? This might be demonstrated in that you would take extraordinary (for you) action…donations, marching, writing letters…or merely in the way you live your life. You may give as much or as little detail as you wish.

So difficult th even think about. I really don't want to put my hand in fire for anything. That said, here are some things I care deeply about:

1. Clean Air and Water- They won't last forever. Especially clean water. And the water will put that burning hand out!

2. The rights of all people to live equally, not just the heterosexual white people. The spanish, the blacks, the gays, the women all the other disenfranchised who may have some of the rights and entitlements but not all of the rights and entitlements, or none of them.

3. The right to worship or not. Even thought I'm still working on this and have recently had a nice Episcopal priest in my new weekend home of Long Beach-he's gay and has a partner.

4. The right to love all the people that I love and to love all the people that I don't even know.

5.The right and the ability to work without fear. And to use the skills as I have been trained to help others.

Not going to put my hand in fire, but I have taken a lot of other risks over the years for some of these rights-alienable.


river song said...

so you played this week! I love all 5, but esp resonate with "5. use the skills as I have been trained to help others." I'm basically euro-american white, basically middle-class and straight (though I love to go to LGBT clubs so I can dance with anyone), but due to a lot of *%^$ I won't risk posting online, I'm still seeking ways to use the skills as I have been trained to help others. Thanks so much!

angela said...

I like how you had a sense of humor about the hand in fire thing. I don't have lots of instinctual fear of fire and have often burned myself in the kitchen.

I like your list too--I think it's very important to understand that we can be led as well by partnered gay priests and hope there will be those of us around the church who will fight for and encourage that.

I'm afraid sometimes my mouth has gotten me in trouble more than my hand. :-)

Mary Beth said...

great list. I thank you for the risks you have taken and continue to take. I learn from you!