The Courage to Quit

Image credit: “Broccoli florets find their seed after a long winter,” May 2021, Detroit, Michigan, photo by Lucia Wylie-Eggert.

By Lydia Wylie-Kellermann. This piece first appeared in Geez 64: The Holy Fool.
My mom once wrote, “We need to recall, to intuit, to dream the life we’re called to and then make a plan that allows us to strip down enough to have it” (The Witness, 1998).

We stand at a moment of mass resignation. Folks are leaving work in every sector. After years of a pandemic and the impending threat of climate change, folks are seizing control of this one precious life. Yet to walk away is terrifying. By most standards . . . foolish. Well, we are here to bless those fools in our midst. May these words offer courage and company.

Oh holy one
who dabbles as a trickster
yet calls us to be unafraid.
Wrap your spirit around
this holy one before you.

Beloved friend, it is ok to walk away,
to defy expectations,
to let folks down,
for the sake of your soul.

May it be time.
Watch. Listen.
Play. Dream. Take risks.
Choose a different way.
Choose no way.
Be still. Rest.
Watch the seasons change
and feel your body return to them.
Trust a new rhythm not of profit,
but of belonging.

You are your ancestors’ dreams
echoing hopes through your bones,
nudging you to trust
that quiet voice of your conscience
which has a habit of wrecking
all that once seemed stable.

Foolish you say?
May this act join with a community of fools
who turn the problem upside down
exposing the true fool of capitalism.

May the resignations,
the newly sprouted unions,
and the picket lines
be a cry across class and community
claiming dignity in our daily lives
and demanding work that is a blessing
to creation.

The world needs a host of holy fools
to shatter capitalism,
to remind us that we are human,
that we are alive,
that we are but wisps of life on this planet
for a short time
and we choose to live.
Amen.

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