Connecting the Dots: Sacred rage


Published: 8/5/2022 2:14:16 PM
Modified: 8/5/2022 2:11:09 PM

“Well, you asked,” she said. In one of the many emails I received in response to my last column “How to ensure what we want for America,” she wrote, “I know what I want for America. Not very realistic but I would like a country as I remember it as a child during WW II. Sitting around my great grandmother’s dining table with sometimes eight or more others while everyone signed cards of love and encouragement to be sent to my father, uncles and close friends far away in the service of their country. I remember a country where people didn’t always agree but didn’t shoot those who didn’t agree either. A country where a little girl could play outside till dark, pledge allegiance to the flag in school, go to the store for a loaf of bread for grandma and didn’t have to worry about strangers, rapists and kidnappers. Didn’t worry about gang fights, stray bullets or playing in the yard alone.”

My next respondent wrote “I too have grandsons — one a junior in college and one a senior in high school. I also have a 5-year-old granddaughter. I worry constantly about what lies ahead for them. Hopefully, there are still enough of us out there to vote this fall to stop the madness.”

Then, this respondent wrote “I have been thinking of what kind of country I would like to live in, and I have concluded ‘you can’t get there from here.’ No amount of Band-Aids to fix this can recreate a form of government that would achieve what I would like to see.”

“The most important thing,” she continued, “is adherence to the rule of law, but how to make the right kinds of laws is the challenge. The goal would be equality of opportunity.”

I don’t have the space to quote from the many other emails I received. But I am grateful to find myself in the company of others who are as perplexed, anxious and deeply concerned about the future of America as I am.

The future

At age 86 I damn well know that nothing lasts forever. I know our present political poltergeist will never return us to the comfortable (for some), politically naïve 50s. However, these profound sociopolitical implications pale in comparison to our headlong dive into environmental oblivion. We’re forced to accept that nothing is going to remain the same. However, it does not follow logically or emotionally, that just because nothing lasts forever, we stop doing what we can each day to make this moment happier and less painful. I wish I could do that. I ask myself why worry? In my remaining time I won’t be too affected by the Republicans’ madlong rush to destroy democracy and how the corporate/political fossil fuel cabal will eviscerate our environment.

And I am worried. And angry. And frustrated. And powerless. Except, as I keep being told, I have the power to channel how I feel into positive action.

Conservationist William deBuys reflects on how we can apply hospice ethics to how we care for the planet in his latest book, “The Trail to Kanjiroba.” “Hospice for the earth arose from my hunger for a way of thinking about how we can continue our efforts to make the planet healthier and curb our own negative influences on it” he said to Sarah Fleming in the Buddhist Review “Tricycle.” “In hospice care,” he said, “you accept the trends of where things are going, and instead of focusing on the big fix, you focus on making things as good as you can, right here and now, for as long as you can. It requires you to relinquish attachment to outcomes and to focus on the fullness of the present. I find a lot of relief in that shift.”

I’m seeking that kind of relief. In her interview Fleming also asked deBuys what he means by “sacred rage” and how can we work with our anger to enact meaningful change? “I think,” deBuys answered, “that a person would have to be fully anesthetized not to feel angry about the chain of events that has taken us to such a critical point in the climate crisis: the buying of politicians, the spread of disinformation, and the role of Big Oil and Big Coal in diverting society from doing what has clearly been needed for a long time. But just being angry isn’t good enough. We need to channel that anger and focus it.”

Any thoughts out there?

John Bos has been a hospice volunteer since 2007. Being present to a dying person is all that anyone can do for where things are going. His column, “Connecting the Dots,” is published in the Recorder every other Saturday. He is a contributing writer for Green Energy Times. Comments and questions are invited at



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