Post Election Reflection — There Is A Gift In Every Shadow

By Laura Larriva

Crisis is the lover of creativity.
Death is a midwife for beauty.
Division is a threshold that reveals possibility.
There is a gift in every shadow.

My dear sisters and brothers, the question I sit with now is not what will I do in the wake of this election, though always in the recesses of my mind are thoughts that whisper promises couched in fantastic storylines of skipped borders, off-grid adventures deep in the jungles of Brazil, or robed in the temples of Bali, or making art in the chic warehouses of Berlin. My ego squirms here – how vehemently I do not want to be associated with that man!

The deeper question that woke me up this morning, that haunted my dreams, and called me to this desk is in the yet-unknown way you and I stand to be shaped by mystery in the threshold formed by the tension of our division

I see myself now, twisting under the strain of crisis, crafted, moulded, heart broken, my body soft and malleable, my tears tumbling like jewels to the earth, my skin aglow having sloughed off scrubbed layers of previously hidden muck, my eyes bright with passion – with fire – with vision for the way our people will be needed here now. 

For the way our voices will need to be heard.
For the way our grief makes love magnificent.
For the way we will learn to listen. 

For the way we remember our mother, the earth, and remain true to her, just as surely as we remember the mystery that brought us here, and the purpose that beats our red hearts alive. 

Just as surely as you and I, mothers and fathers, dream of the world we will leave our children, and their children…

This is a not a time to lose hope. It is a time to remember, as William Stafford says; the way we stand here matters. The way we breathe.

The question I am asking myself now is what kind of experience is Mystery inviting us into, here in the dawn light of a new day – however foreboding?

And how will I, from the depths of my soul, meet that invitation? And be changed by it?

Me, who loves this world so much it hurts, who loves the poignancy and the tragedy of the human condition, who loves even those in her life who chose that man – and justify it. Me, whose tears run endlessly for the dying sea lions, and the disappearing whales, and the confused and swirling honeybees, and for the vision she has of one little girl, her hair a wild mess, her face streaked with dirt, her eyes… oh her eyes, so telling of the future that awaits us and the way I will fall in the end, a feast for the earth, having done all I was capable of doing, having lived the life I was born to live. How even in the midst of my own ecstatic surrender I will want to defend the hidden gifts of this place.

These are the images that rise up from under, that remind me, as I remind you now, to accept the invitation at mystery’s hand, and to rise up – in the way you know how, to be a sentinel for the silenced ones – to be a beacon of possibility in the narrow corridors of our nation. To be the wild men and women you are as envoys for the earth.

We will meet what is to come, together.

And we will all be shaped – perhaps more able to meet not only this seemingly distorted crucible with power, but to participate with the future as it emerges in a way we can now only imagine. The way we MUST now imagine.

Sisters and brothers, take heart. Something new is dying to be born.

“The shadow, when first confronted, always looks putrid.
Be a person here. Stand by the river, invoke
the owls. Invoke winter, then spring.
Let any season that wants to come here make its own
call. After that sound goes away, wait.

A slow bubble rises through the earth
and begins to include sky, stars, all space,
even the outracing, expanding thought.
Come back and hear the little sound again.

Suddenly this dream that you are having matches
everyone’s dream, and the result is the world.
If a different call came there wouldn’t be any
world, or you, or the river, or the owls calling.

How you stand here is important. How you
listen for the next things to happen. How you breathe.”
~William Stafford

Featured image:

For more self-study, The Urban Howl recommends Ask Me: 100 Essential Poems of William Stafford.



  1. Tanya Markul

    Bravo. This is wonderful and hopeful. Thank you, sister! XO

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This