Tag Archives: turning the tables

Lent 30

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The tables are set, and all is laid out in bounteous splendour.  Who is invited? I wonder if the great and the powerful will mind sitting underneath, cross-legged and catching crumbs, the hors d’oeuvres made for the humble and the hoi polloi tucking into canapes all around them. Perhaps we should all take turns and become once more like little children, giggling in our draped dens, the adults carrying on above, and then all of us understanding a little better when the music begins again and we move around.

Art and text © Keren Dibbens-Wyatt 2018

91. Banker (Empathy, Lent 32)

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I am one of those left-wing liberals that like to rail about justice and equality. But as you know I feel challenged to look at the world with different eyes for a while. Let’s take a topical example. Supposing, as I stand and shout on social media with the No DAPL protestors, vehement in my beliefs that clean water and safeguarding the environment is more important than rich shareholders taking home yet more cash, that I turn the tables in that outrage, and am placed in the shoes of the CEO of a bank who are deeply invested in that pipeline. How might I feel?

I’ve been employed to run a profitable business. My priority is to keep the stockholders happy and keep my job. I cannot allow myself to ponder the rights and wrongs of the actual investment. If I did that with every dollar I’d never be able to get anywhere! I’ve been trained to see that as my emotions interfering with my work. I am good at making tough decisions and holding on through difficulties. This is how I earned both my place and the respect of my peers. I want to stay at the top. If I resigned over it, or lost my job taking a stand, someone else would be put in my place who would do the right thing by the investors anyway. I’d have lost my position and endangered the security of my co-workers and family for nothing.

There is no point, in any case, worrying about the environment, because everyone around me tells me that the scientists are wrong, that the protestors are just whining, that there is no real cause for alarm, that the earth can look after itself, and I am also, knowing myself to be canny, investing in renewable energy as well as fossil fuels, though perhaps with less enthusiasm. If that starts to get anywhere, my bank and I will be right behind that too. These things have a way of working out. Necessity is the mother of invention and all that.

text © Keren Dibbens-Wyatt 2017 photo from Pixabay

(This piece contains part of an article published on Godspace. You can read it here.)

86. Pest Controller (Empathy, Lent 27)

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I lost a lot of sleep over the fact that we had to have a wasps’ nest exterminated a few years ago. The nest was inside our wall right by the back door, and my husband is allergic to wasp stings, so it felt like there was no choice, but the guy who did it insisted they had to be poisoned. It felt so wrong. I don’t know if I have an inner Buddhist, but I definitely lean towards Franciscanism on this one. I hate killing things. So how on earth does someone who has to do this for a living feel justified and at peace?

It’s just one of those dirty jobs that someone has to do. No-one else wants to, so it pays well. I don’t feel bad about it, because nature has to be controlled to a certain extent in an urban area. People have to come first. If you or your loved ones are in danger from stings, or at risk from vermin, that needs to be dealt with. My firm do everything as quickly and humanely as we can, but there will always be some suffering. I like to think we minimalise it. And after all, how much can a rat or an insect suffer? It doesn’t last long, and if I wasn’t doing it, someone else would be, and probably with less compassion. My sympathies are with the people who feel worried or unsafe, and I change their environments for the better. The wildlife can stay out in the wild where it belongs.

Photo from Pixabay, text © Keren Dibbens-Wyatt 2017

Landscape of Love: Temple

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A roof of sky upheld by babbling Babel columns, their ends curled over into Doric swirls, like out-of- reach cinnamon buns, or unruly Grecian ringlets. Parthenon now standing open to the elements, pagoda green-roofed and tiled with Turkish slipper corners, or the one remaining wailing wall and the courtyard: empty but still bustling with the echoes of chords, both whipped and sung, the deep voices thrumming and the strange Jewish rabbi furiously whirling like a processional David, pent up expression dancing its way across the stone slabs, robe ribboning, decorum long flown, chased doves flapping up into the air, a forehead with beads of holy sweat caught glistening globes in the last rays of sun as true prayer finally finds its way home.

© Keren Dibbens-Wyatt 2016

Photo from Pixabay