Friday, August 19, 2011

Thoughts on the Fourth Estate and my time in an RV that followed.

How do you digest a hurricane? How do you swallow the moon and the earth lit up by the moon? Some things are too big, too inextricably bound up in the world to be consumed. I want to know The Fourth Estate. A conference designed to spark an ideological movement: a commitment to global citizenship and responsibility to justice. I want to analyze and categorize it. But it cannot be held in my hands because there were too many miracles in the orchestra to hold.

Each individual experience, the unique events of every life and the wash of one video on one pair of eyes and a speaker’s words on another. I will never know the stories, the ruffles of the heart that were the very moment of a life change, or the seed falling in the crack of stone, invisible for years, only to grow into a mighty tree in years I will not know.

I held the face of new loves, cried with them as we said goodbye, I hugged a million works of art and wrote my name in books that will hold the words of great men and women not yet written.

I spoke with my heroes, listened to them address and articulate a future and a present and the human condition.

I heard great minds give credit to science for life, to God, to something more but not quite God. Each man, each woman bringing her motivation, the deeper hunger, to the stage, inviting each member of The Fourth Estate to take the wild wonderous magic of living seriously, the profound duty to examine the phenomenon of existence and behave with intention. Intention is everything.

If these members walked out a bit dizzy, stumbling over thoughts too big for the brain, we have done our job. If these members walked out convinced of nothing except the dignity of human beings and a desire to protect that dignity, then we have done our job.

If these members exchange self-serving profit for life-serving purpose, if they see their lives as part of a living body, and not an ignorant cancer, we have done our job.

If we prioritize worthy things, and marginalize unworthy things. If we celebrate beauty and mystery and belonging, and if we critique abuse, the rape of the human soul and the natural world, the fragmented fiction that my choices are separate from yours… then we have done our job.

If we stop blaming injustice on laziness, culture, and history, and start solving injustice with love and focused attention, then we have done our world a service.

And if there is a God, He will be well pleased.

As I traveled the east coast in an RV, celebrating Brady’s bar exam, exploring the Carolina’s and sitting at Lincoln’s feet in DC and walking the streets of New York with Orion (a fresh poet’s eyes seeing the temple of man for the first time), I carried with me the glory of The Fourth Estate. The sense of purpose, the crater of impact scarring my face and shoulders with value. It was a haunted drive, my thoughts present in the Charleston rain and above the clouds in the lingering ghosts of the prior week. It was the perfect meal: swallowing the moon with brothers of chosen blood and adventure, digesting the hurricane that circles inside me, wrecks the islands of doubt and rests its quiet eye over my heart.


Sara Hutton said...

Thank you. Not only for reducing me to a puddle of tears, vomit, rainbows, and yogurt by adequately expressing how indescribable 4E was, but for being who you are. I used to think you and people like you were just born awesome. You got the lucky gene and I didn't, so I would sit in the back and let people like you take the stage. Two weeks ago, you, Jason, and everyone at the Fourth Estate awakened my soul. You all showed me that not only am I a worthy person, I will change the world. I cannot thank you enough. said...

my hand is held tighter by yours as i read the happenings of your life changing events. i am proud. i am a bit envious. i am always with you. spirit to spirit. together. inspired. belonging. metamorphosis. you are always becoming more. xo

CML said...

jed, the fourth estate changed my life and made me believe in the power of hope and the power of the individual. i have never been so inspired as i was every time i sat in that theater, or through conversation with every single person i spoke to. you've managed to put everything i've wanted to say about the fourth estate into words and i thank you for that.

Rachel Clancy said...

Jed Jed Jed.
Your words, your spirit, and your soul never cease to amaze me. This epitomizes everything 4E, you captured the life of the experience and translated it beautifully. 4E was bigger than any individual could possibly imagine--it united different people from different backgrounds with different stories; we all shared (and continue to share) a universal thread. Together, we are whole. Still, it was more than that. It was us sharing humanity.
So much was learned throughout that remarkable weekend. We questioned societal constructs, and we reevaluated what it means to be an advocate. We stripped away insecurity, doubt, and ignorance. In the simplest of terms, we redefined what it means to be a human being--what it means to be alive. This consciousness will never fade.
We are the Fourth Estate.

Claire Eun said...

I love you a lot, brother. Keep in touch, you are more able than you know. XOXO