I need to write these words and I need to have them witnessed. They feel raw, discombo- bulated and important – at least for me. Slowing down this morning, my emotions lean toward the weight of the world – mine, my children’s, the children of Haiti and yours.
Monday, I sat with a young woman who is fighting for her life. She is not physically ill or destitute – most would say she lives a privileged life – and she would not disagree. Still… she struggles. This week, her battle for self-awareness was set against the devastation and death in Haiti… her search for personal peace transposed against a backdrop of events tangibly bigger than her own breaking heart. It is surreal and she paused to decide if she is worth it – to consider if she matters enough to fight for her own life without appearing selfish.
Tuesday, I engaged in a conversation with graduates of a Christian institution. The topic: What makes the institution unique? (i.e. Why go there, donate your money or invest your time?) One young man articulated before he went to school there, he had a 'Save the World' mentality that felt huge and impossible to accomplish. Now he sees things on a smaller scale – one individual - one conversation at a time. This feels doable. This feels like the Gospel to him – and I would not disagree. Can the world be saved on this scale?
As I write, dozens of other faces in this short week flash through my mind. Wednesday’s encounter with a woman who has heart-warming dreams that fill her to near bursting, but has a hard time seeing how those dreams can impact the outer world. Monday’s witness of prisoners in orange jump suits, some angry and entitled – others grateful to be alive and willing to transform one day at a time – some both. The only thing separating them and me is the color of their suit and my ability to walk out the steel-encased doors. Yesterday, I facilitated (& participated in) a recovery group where I am awed by the vast array of socio-economic, cultural, and spiritual representations. All an integral part of the world. All unique individuals. All just like me.
So, I sit here this morning snuggled with my golden cat, slowing down long enough to consider these things. I am near overwhelmed with sadness for my own broken heart and filled with hope for change in the world. Things seem to be shifting – or perhaps it’s just me? I am reminded of Mother Teresa’s prayer for her heart to break wide open so the whole world may fall in. Today, the world is right here with me. In this moment, I am grateful and awash in a sea of other emotions.
Is it enough to care for ourselves when others are dying? Do we not each die a bit every day? Can a breath of life in my body reach across the world? Does it have to go that far or is it enough to touch someone across the room, or closer yet to fill my own lungs?
by the sea © lucy 1.09.10