Notes from the journey #2

Editor’s Note: This is an introduction (by Joe Power-Drutis) to what we hope will be a series of reflections by our dear Bix following on Bix’s and Joe’s trip to Oslo and many other European destinations in December 2012. 

Technically speaking he lives at one of the Tacoma Catholic Worker
houses, Jean’s House of Prayer. In actuality, he lives in a 10’ x 12’
room, on the first floor of this rather incredible home. When entering
his space one is struck by an immaculately made up, single bed in the
center of the room (no doubt early Jesuit training). After that, the
décor takes a steep dive. Boxes, books, papers, photographs, and
random articles of clothing are strewn haphazardly in interesting
patterns on the bed, desk, and book shelves. Only those who come to
know the room’s occupant are likely to recognize this as “command
central” where so many of us bring our dreams and share our struggles.

A few days ago, I was about to leave this room after receiving
marching orders. Looking up from his desk, Bix squinted through well
worn glasses and said, “You know, I believe we can get rid of these
nuclear weapons.” If he had made that statement 45 years ago I would
have jumped up saying, “All right, I’m all over that, let’s get to
it!” He was bigger than life and exuded utter confidence in all he
undertook. Who didn’t get behind a person of such assurance? At nearly
85 his physical abilities, and mine, lead me to consider somewhat less
lofty goals. I wanted to say, “There is medication that can help with
such ideations;” or, “How about right after lunch.” However; I decided
sarcasm would not be well received; anyway, the look in his eyes
showed he absolutely believed in the validity of his statement.

This morning in that twilight world, somewhere between dreams and
wakefulness, the thought came to me, “if you had faith the size of a
mustard seed.” Perhaps we have to become very small before we can
transform the impossible into the possible. Look for yourselves, Matt
13:31 & 17:20, Mark 4:31 and Luke 13:19; is there something there?
When speaking of abolishing nuclear weapons, Bix did not use the term
“hope;” he said he “believes” that getting rid of nuclear weapons is
possible!

A number of people have asked when I would complete the story of our
recent trip to Sweden, Norway, and the UK. I generally replied, “Very
soon,” instead of the more honest answer, “I have no idea how to bring
completion to this story!” Finally, I told Bix that this doesn’t seem
to be a story of exactly who we met or what was said. Although these
things important, something more holistic is at play here and I am not
the one with the knowledge or spirit to express it. Bix said he would
take this on and I let go.

His writing about our journey to Europe and conversations with peace
activists there is almost finished. Over the next few weeks I will
post these writings in bite-sized pieces as he wishes. In the
meantime, here are some words from Bix’s heart:

“We return from our trip bolstered by the motivating truth that most
people of the world do not want to kill each other. The vast majority
of people of the world want their children to be able to live life to
its fullest potential. No matter what the obstacles to human
interaction, the human connection of all people runs as a conduit of
energy in a subterranean layer of our earth.”

“It was heartening to see that the ecumenical voice of the Church of
Scotland, Baptists, Catholics, and Quakers has been a strong moving
force in opposing the Trident Nuclear Submarine system. Today, 75% of
the people of Scotland oppose this system of mass destruction. I was
inspired to bring this spirit of resistance back to our Pacific
Northwest. We have to realize that we are all part of a global
community. The dream we share in common – the need for a world without
nuclear weapons – can continue to grow and flow back and forth across
the water that separates us.”

2 Responses

  1. Writer,I like the way that you write. Bix, aside, yuour story is well writen and I know that your journey will be well rememered and told. I eager to hear the rest. Give the ‘man’ a hug from me.Nancy Hanrahan

  2. Joe, your word went straight to my heart, I am moved beyond words

    Peace to you. Love Laura johnston

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