Condoleeza Rice, secretary of state under George W. Bush, has written a new book, “Extraordinary, Ordinary People: A Memoir of Family”, about who she is, how she got to where she is today, and about growing up black, female, and smart in “Bombingham”, aka, Birmingham, Alabama, where one of her girlhood friends was burned to death with four other little girls in a local church that was set on fire.
Given that she is such a well-known political figure, the former secretary of state is a bit of a lightening rod. Just read the comments in the Huffington Post following Russell Bishop’s article where he questions her politics but acknowledges her as an example of someone who rose from less than ideal circumstances to being one of only a handful of women to become secretary of state.
It’s tough but important work to encourage people to take responsibility for their lives. I’m not suggesting that we let the culprits and the bad guys off the hook—if we could even agree on who they are—but no matter how good the world gets, it will always be far from perfect. Our life with its boils, pimples, scars, discolorations and expiration date will always have room for improvement. We will always be able to find people, things, or events, natural and man-made, to blame for one deficiency in our life or another. But what will become of us if we spend our time blaming and moaning. Who will hear and who will respond, if not ourselves? Now, I’m not saying Condoleeza and I agree on all the choices she made as secretary of state, but she did make something of herself, and she didn’t ask me my opinion before she did.
What about you and I?
“What are you,” as the poet Mary Oliver asks, “going to do with your one wild and precious life?”
Ache and moan?
Or stand and deliver? (I know it’s a movie title, but I couldn’t help myself.)
Are we going to spend our lives as pieces of flotsam and jetsam being whacked in one direction and then another by whatever comes our way and complain about it, or are we going to be forces to be reckoned with as we work to make something of our lives?
I know Christmas is approaching, but Santa Claus is probably not going to save us. And even God, if you are religiously inclined, asks that we take steps in the right direction if we hope to get to someplace worthwhile.
It’s up to us.
So, what do you say, “Yea, or nay?”
But before you decide, remember, probably no one cares about your life and happiness more than you do. Though we are all subjected to circumstances beyond our control, no one has more power over your experience than you do.
You may or may not agree with the decisions made by the former secretary of state, but yours is still a wild and precious life, so think carefully before you give too much of it away to forces outside yourself.
Please leave a comment. Share how you are taking responsibility in these trying times to live a life that is productive, joyful, and full of gratitude. Many of you write to me privately, which is great, but sharing is good too. Namaste.