By Debbie Lynn
Hanging on to the edge of change; autumn is looming, sultry, dark and slightly oppressive, but the feeling is comfortable and I wonder, if that is a sign of submission.
As I watch the sun begin to rise and illuminate the ground, I feel a bit of raw-guilt in my gut. I pause; life is good, I am happy and yet somehow (I don’t know why) there is a part of me that feels undeserving. Contentment is as viable as it is elusive—soft, menacing and full of trickery.
The minutes of light are dispersing ever so slowly; it seems so selfish to want more. I feel cheated out of the summer come and gone and I know, cooler days are on the way. In a short while, enchanting color will make an entrance. It will blast its way through an arid landscape with vibrancy and verve like a child that needs attention. I take it in with awe, knowing all things are in fact so fleeting. With the ping of my phone, I am snapped out of my daze. It says there has been a mass shooting and I am stunned.
As I sit in privilege, that inner voice whispers in my ear (with carefully crafted condescension) “Remember how lucky you are.”
I do. I do remember but I feel muted. I feel singular, and at the same time I feeling immense sadness laced in gratitude. Myriad of emotions. I can’t shake the haunting memories of the disasters. Many lives are forever changed and riddled with pain. People, places and the subtle energy of turquoise water and velveteen warmth that was my home for years are now nothing more than splinters of wood, plastic and heartache…and now this.
I want to do something—anything—to distract the vision that hangs over my head like a cloud with a belly full of rain, but nothing seems appropriate. Perhaps a hands-on approach? No, that is not plausible right now, so the obvious answer is to open up the checkbook.
How distant and hollow that action actually seems. My phone pings again; the number of causalities are mounting.
So, I try to justify my angst, my fears and my longing to have the memory of serenity (island beauty) embrace me, but serenity is only as good as the water’s edge and will do nothing until I am fully submerged in an effort to heal. Healing is done with laborious blood sweat and tears—I don’t have that—I have none to give at 4,000 nautical miles away, so I decide to donate more and write another check (the first amount just didn’t seem big enough). But when will it ever be enough? It seems as though my checkbook has had a workout lately.
The sun is now beaming in my window and warming all the things I take for granted and I am reminded once again how life is so very fragile. I know in my heart, and in time, things will return to normal, whatever normal will be. Yet, I can’t rid the image of ghosts (the towns and souls in duress) waiting for simple basic needs like water, food and shelter, while I have all of that at my fingertips.
Meanwhile a bloody massacre has ensued.
Entitlement and resentment, the yin to my yang dances in my subconscious because poverty, destruction and hatred is such a hard thing to witness, especially when I have so much. My struggles of the past pale in comparison. I detest comparisons. They tend to slap me in the face, but when we look deeply at the poignant truth, there has to be a measure of disturbance to awaken sleepy contentment.
So, I guess suffering can be put in place and I avow, I am not suffering. All those other people are suffering. My heart is suffering, but I am not suffering. The banter in my head continues. I start my day.
I am now in semi-routine. I have had coffee, breakfast and I am going about the things that need to be attended to, but lingering in my head is the destruction of Irma, Maria and the slaughter that happened last night. I am thinking about all the people who have to rebuild, forge on, and carve a new path to simply survive. Their spirit must be shattered, and that thought hits my gut hard.
The coffee now stings, the breakfast starts to rebel, and I just want purge. I need to physically and mentally purge.
My go-to? My salvation? Pen to page. Here I am, in the comfort of my surroundings, at my keyboard clearing (purging) it out. Trying to express the impossible, trying to find solace in a monetary donation and trying to escape my own head. What do others do with guilt and sadness? I suppose everyone has their own way.
This last month my bleeding heart has been in ruins, and with the ever-present change in seasons, it seems to now just exasperate the void. I know that light changes everything and even when things are dark and the energy is heavy, the light can lift us out of the saddest situations, yet I am having trouble finding the good in the bad. But this isn’t my M.O. I can usually squeak out some quality of understanding but today I just can’t.
I am praying, and I haven’t been on bended knee for such a long time. I am worried, and I am not a worrier. The escalation of horror is like a nasty movie with no ending. It doesn’t seem real, yet we are all affected somehow and the vibration is carrying a message. I know we all can feel it and I am sure we must heed what is playing out in our hearts.
Hours have marched on as they do. The sun is now making its way west hovering over another lethal day. Maybe with a promise of a new tomorrow I will feel better? Maybe not. I have to keep reminding myself, all the things I hold dear are not only at arm’s reach, they are sturdy, tangible and precious. I momentarily fall back into awe as the sun paints the sky a different color.
I recount what progress was made today—if any—and I wonder what everyone else does with tragedy? How do we compartmentalize it? How do we grieve? I for one, don’t have this kind of skill-set or training. The tears roll down my cheek again.
There is no way to prepare for insanity.
Suffering is life, and in life we suffer, but enough already! Yet I know adjustments must be made, the reasons are unavoidable and when dukkha is present, I must listen. Darkness is a time to rest, to restore, to be quiet. On an intellectual level, I get it—it makes sense, but from my gut, there is nothing sensible about it.
Sending love from my heart to all who need it. Especially today, I prayed.
Editor: Dana Gornall
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