What I Might Have Said


[A Beacon on a Beacon Street Sidewalk, Somerville, MA, 2015]

A week ago I held a “No War in Iran” sign at a peace demonstration near US Congressman Mike Capuano’s office. Although engrossed, lately, in issues that feel far more immediate and urgent and, yes, that I am called to do, that horrific sound of The War Machine once again revving its powerful, deadly engine compelled me to show up. So I did.

Halfway through the hour long demonstration—on a crowded sidewalk at lunchtime in front of a mall and office building complex—one of the MoveOn organizers passed around a mic and invited the forty or so protesters to say something. One right after another, five or six men made cogent, impassioned speeches.

“Why is it only men?” I marveled aloud. Overhearing me, an older man invited me to speak. Twice.

Reader: Although that kind man’s repeated invitation felt genuine and inclusive, I declined.


Mostly, Dear Reader, because what I was feeling and what I longed to say aloud wasn’t cogent, it wasn’t linear, it wasn’t about facts about Iran. No, what I wanted to talk about would have been rambling and quite possibly incoherent unless worked on, edited, rewritten, read aloud; my usual writing process.

Most likely what I would have shared would have been about what had JUST happened a few minutes before, when two lovely, young, elegantly-dressed women had come up to me and said, “Thank you. We’re from Iran.” And how I’d grabbed them and hugged them and, probably to their confusion (or, possibly, their horror) I’d called them “My sisters!” And how I’ve been protesting wars for over fifty years but have never actually hugged someone from Vietnam or Iraq or Afghanistan or . . . at a peace demonstration.  And how, having physically touched those two women, I was feeling my deep and profound and chromosomal connection to the women and children everywhere!

But I also could have expressed my impatience, my indignation to once again show up to protest another @#$%^&* war! “I got things to do!” I could have declared, arms on hips—which would have made holding a mic pretty tricky. “Like the rest of you, I’m working on urgent, in-your-face, this system’s broken; roll up your sleeves stuff! Like climate change. Like our broken criminal justice system. We don’t have time for another war!”

Most of all I would have wanted to clutch that mic, stared out at the crowd with earnest, beseeching eyes, and in a tremulous voice talked about how War and Climate Change and BlackLivesMatter and all the other ways we ignore and deny and desecrate our Wholeness and Interconnectedness reveal our collective brokenness. And how, with every breath, we must acknowledge that Wholeness, that Light.  And let it guide us.

(How do you think that would’ve gone over? Yeah. Me, too.)

Join the Conversation


  1. Wow! I wish you would have stood up and given those prophetic words of fire and truth. (Reminds me of women of Quaker history who stood up and spoke.)

    Thank you for your post! I’m down because of stress and tragedy, but your flaming exhortation has be jumping up to do more for truth and compassion and justice.

    Much appreciated:-)

  2. Dear Patricia,

    Hello, there, Patricia, my so, so very dearly special and preciously dearest friend and sister who you are For Always so, so very much! Wow, what a powerfully engaging blog post article this is of yours, sister! I so, so very much love and like this and am very blessed and inspired by this masterful work of composition in the written word blog post article as I know all of your other very grateful and appreciative readers would think the very same, sisterfriend! Wow, I am very inspired, blessed, and uplifted by you and your powerful writings, Patricia! Thank-you, my friend!

    Sister, I know what you mean, Patricia when you said that if you had spoken your thought processes leading to your spoken words would not have been linear. I’m not very linear in my thinking, speaking, and in my writings, sister. I, too, am horrified at the prospect of The War Machine once again revving its powerful and deadly engine again!!!!!!!!!

    I so love, like and cherish how you so lovingly in such a caring and sensitive manner warmly embraced the two young women from Iran and shared together in conversation in spoken communion with them. YOU, Patricia, are a true sister- a soul sister like how you’re such a dearly special and preciously dearest friend and sister to me and my very loyal, steadfast, and empowering white anti-racist ally For Always in solidarity, sister!!!!!!! You’re so right on, on point, and make such a relevant point when you shaerd that like our broken criminal justice system which urgently needs to be fixed, we don’t have time for another war!!!!!!! With all of our very human beings with all that we have within our human power we must as our Very Dearest and Darling God’s children as you so wisely wrote acknowledge that Wholeness, that Light. What very beautiful , poetic, and very much indeed truth telling words you have declared, Patricia. In his comment above, Daniel was so right in saying that you wrote prophetic words of fire and truth. I, too, am very inspired by you to do more for truth, compassion, and justice, my sisterfriend Patricia!!!!!! I so, so very much appreciate you, too, my sister!!!!!!!!! And like you so brilliantly said let it guide us as you shared in your wholesome words of wisdom, Patricia!!!!!!! Thank-you so, Patricia!!!!!!

    Patricia, please have a totally terrific and a very thrilling Tuesday, and may all of your days be so, so very especially blessed!!!!! YOU, my sisterfriend, and your precious writings are such a greatly immense joy to me, and reading your very fine and excellent blog post articles and responding to them with my comments provide me such joys, blessings, and pleasure, and make me an even better Christian woman. Sister, I am praying that you very soon find an agent and a publisher for your cool and magnificent book, Welling Up(I’ll buy it as soon as it is hot off the presses, sister), as I pray For Always for you in general, for your dearest and darling husband, for all of the rest of your precious and beloved family, and for your blessedly pure in heart friendsfamily at your Friends Meeting at Cambridge with my very heartfelt, loving, caring, and sensitive thoughts sending positive energy all of your way, Patricia!!!!!!!

    Very Warmly and Sincerely For Always, my dear white friend and sister, Patricia, with Peace and Love To You For Always, my precious white sister and friend, with Blessings and Even More Blessings To You For Always,

    Your sisterfriend Christian lesbian black woman For Always in solidarity, Sherry Gordon

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