Sunday, June 19, 2016

Can we celebrate life in the Shadow of Death too?

In the Shadow of last weeks deaths in Orlando, our web of life has been shaken.  What can we do now to make it tougher for such massacres to keep on happening, where can these people find shelter, solace, a safe place to find sanctuary in a world like this?
      For a week now, our skies have been darker, more rainy, cooler than is usual for June.  Could so many unpredictable changes be affecting us all?  Yesterday we had a wonderful Interfaith Vigil at our local Havurah, hosted by the Jewish community.  We listened to rabbis, ministers, minstrels, and shared our horror at what is happening in our country.  We shared our resolve to not let these repeated massacres define us, letting fear paralyze us from taking actions to create a more peaceful and safe world.  In the face of such deep grief, we also need to play, to rest, to take care of our selves individually and collectively so we do feel loved and protected.  As Norma Burton shared, life for many of us has been  full of storms, times that try our souls.  We can  emerge with more tolerance, more compassion, more awareness of how crisis can bring us together and help awaken us
    We are survivors, and it is tough to realize how deeply violence is imbedded in our nation's soul.
Maybe this is a wake-up call, time to stand  up for gun regulations.  Maybe it's a time to find healthier hobbies than hunting for sport, shooting other people when  we are mad and upset, condoning the silence from our lawmakers.  We need to break  thorough  the vicious cycles of hate, isolation, and rejection of those whose customs and ways of life are different from our own.  With the internet and other media, we now can see the faces of those who have lost their  sons and daughters, their friends who have done no harm, and now are dead, many only in their 20's and 30's.  They were gathered to enjoy one another's company, to be with kindred spirits.  What next when the Pulse will remind them of what happened only a week ago?  Our web of life has been  violently shaken, and more innocent people have been murdered and maimed.  One minister said we must now love each other out of our despair and shock, that we need the presence of Love in  our lives to arouse our courage, our resolve to help create a safer, kinder, more just world for all.
    When we were encouraged to first look a stranger in the eyes, then embrace one another, how readily the tears flowed, tears that may have gone unshed had we stayed home.  It is a time for mourning, and too, for finding simple  ways to honor and celebrate life.  It felt good for me to go to a second-hand children's store and take the time to buy some fun  gifts for my granddaughters, who are coming to Ashland this week.  Celebrating that I am a Grandma and  I treasure these rare visits with family who live far from  me.   Yes, we can celebrate in gentle ways, reach out to one another, resist the temptation to isolate ourselves at this time when so much seems out of control.
We can show up for life.  Slow down.  Be there for our friends and even for strangers, and do what feels appropriate to care for ourselves as well.  Sweet  Eliza, and Taryn too, I am so glad to see you for a couple of days this week, to be able to hug and read to you, just enjoy your presence and that of your wonderful parents too.  Let us choose to say YES to the life that nourishes us, brightening  our days even as we trust the rainbows and sunshine shall return.

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