Every time I learn about tragedies which takes away innocent lives, be it the very young or the very old, I die a little inside. My soul gets chipped away a bit at a time and I am left exhausted and depleted. Perhaps it is the insanity of it all. Perhaps it is the waste of it all. Perhaps it is the pain of it all. I am just doggone bone-tired from all the senselessness. Today’s dispiriting account in the local publication talks about how a 8 year old victim of the Boston blast was waiting at the finish line hankering to lavish his running father with hugs and kisses only to become a victim of the explosion. The little boy died. In one split second, the family’s life narrative changed forever. Another story reads how two brothers who were at the finish line cheering, applauding and supporting the contestants only to, minutes later, suffer the harrowing carnage of the bomb blast. They both survived but lost their legs. In the blink of an eye, these young men’s allegory changed forever. Carlos Arrendondo who was handing out American flags at the event heartrendingly recounted, “There were so many people laying there begging me for help..But I only could help one at a time so I only just helped that young man”. Mankind. Human beings. Society. To say that humanity is utterly and completely flawed is like claiming that the sun is too orange and too calescent. It is just illustrating the apothegmatic, the presupposed, and the accepted. When we look into the face of humanity, often times we see the ridges of time gone by. We cannot help but notice the creases of countless failings and disappointments. We cannot help but observe the scars of decimation we inflict on each other, noting the horror caused by destruction we ourselves precipitate. The face of humanity is ugly. The face of humanity is obnoxious. The face of humanity is dour. Mother Theresa once said,“If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.” Have we forgotten that we are accountable to one another?. That together we are to stand in one accord?. That we, as Mother Theresa affirms, belong to each other?. Wistfully, long before the dust got to settle, humanity dismissed from its mind this sacred connection. Just like the sun so flugid and titian, we have forgotten that the sun is also warm and vital to our existence. We take everything, anything and anyone for granted nowadays. But I believe that in our hearts of hearts, in that very nook where God, our Creator murmurs intimately to us, here is where we can find that link, that knot, that nexus which unites one being to another. Mahatma Gandhi quotes, “When I despair, I remember that all through history the way of truth and love have always won. There have been tyrants and murderers, and for a time, they can seem invincible, but in the end, they always fall. Think of it–always”. Hope. Faith. Love. Hope in a better tomorrow. Faith in each other. Love unconditional despite everything. I die a little inside but I also live a little stronger. A little more resolute. Resolute in my belief that humanity’s transfiguration is not invariable. That change is coming. It must.
“I have walked through many lives,
some of them my own,
and I am not who I was,
though some principle of being abides,
from which I struggle not to stray.
When I look behind,
as I am compelled to look before I can gather strength to proceed on my journey,
I see the milestones dwindling toward the horizon and the slow fires trailing from the abandoned camp-sites, over which the scavenger angels wheel on heavy wings.
Oh, I have made myself a tribe out of my true affections,
and my tribe is scattered!
How shall the heart be reconciled to its feast of losses?
In a rising wind,
the manic dust of my friends,
those who fell along the way,
bitterly stings my face.
Yet I turn.
with my will intact to go wherever I need to go,
and every stone on the road precious to me.
In my darkest night,
when the moon was covered and I roamed through the wreckage,
a nimbus-clouded voice directed me:
-Live in the layers, not on the litter-
Though I lack the art to decipher it,
no doubt the next chapter in my book of transformations is already written.
I am not done with my changes.” ~ Stanley Kunitz, The Collected Poems
Sorry Chloe, yours would have to wait another day…