In fact, kindness, love, believing, joy, and beauty are hard to apply to any week in other parts of the world, where violence and poor health and senseless death are facts of daily life―a truth we in this country like not to think about. My friend Christina Baldwin's blog this week is a reminder of the stories we don't look at, on a day we are glued to one story playing out in Boston. "Let’s have a moment of silence, not dancing in the streets. Then let’s talk more deeply about these issues than we did a week ago."
But there was light in-between, too. Another writing friend, Joanna Powell Colbert, posted her own Reverie in Between that brought tears to my eyes (and includes chocolate). And there was patience at the airport (at least the one I was in). And positive energy for the sick. And hundreds of helpers in Boston and Texas. And generosity of spirit in times of tragedy. And cooperation. And a quick 911 response (blasting my recurring nightmare―that no one answers 911―out of my subconscious). And there was spring.
Sometimes the ugly side of life is more in our face than other times, like winter is a season that is more in our face than the other seasons. Winter is hard work, physically and emotionally. And then comes the flash of faithful spring. Sometimes we overlook it in our relief that an end to winter is in sight, and in our rush to just get to summer. It would be easy to overlook beauty in this week of heartache and ugliness. It would be easy to think we don't deserve spring.
Still another friend, Elizabeth Hudson Willingham, says in her recent blog post that sometimes we just have to take a break from all that wants to pull us into the depths. Spring pushes us toward love and kindness. It just can't help it. We need spring's renewal now more than ever. And the beauty in the world deserves our attention. The words of my friends and others that came to me this week and the evidence of spring in Washington and North Carolina make my heart sing.
"Kindness covers all of my political beliefs. No need to spell them out. I believe that if, at the end, according to our abilities, we have done something to make others a little happier, and something to make ourselves a little happier, that is about the best we can do. To make others less happy is a crime. To make ourselves unhappy is where all crime starts. We must try to contribute joy to the world. That is true no matter what our problems, our health, our circumstances. We must try. I didn’t always know this and am happy I lived long enough to find it out" (Roger Ebert).
A brilliant speech by Maurice Williamson in New Zealand's Parliament in support of their gay marriage bill surfaced on the internet this week. "All we are doing here is allowing two people who love each other to have that love recognized by way of marriage...I promise you right now, if we pass this bill the sun will still rise tomorrow...'Be ye not afraid' (Deuteronomy 1:29)." Take a listen here.
"There comes a time in our lives when we are called to believe the unbelievable. If we allow ourselves to believe, we open the door to the infinite possibility of who we might become" (Ann Linnea).
"5:30 a.m. The sky is pale,
not gray, not white, just the color of a cool glass of water.
I walk through wet grass, my toes getting wet through my shoes,
soon my pant legs are soaking.
My cheeks become moist as my breath condenses on them
and my hair clings to my neck.
Finally I just stand in stillness and drink in the morning.
What is it about seeing more light at daybreak that fills me up and sends me off into the day with joy bubbling like soda pop beneath my skin?" (Amelia Bacon, Wake Up and Write)
As I write today, I am so grateful for my writing friends and their words filled with kindness and love and believing and joy and beauty. And for the dear ones who turned their lives over to spend time with me on my recent trip to North Carolina; and for those who made it possible for me to go. And for the promise and beauty of new life in my two home states. I am a lucky girl.
"Somewhere each day we have to fall in love with someone, something, some moment, event, phrase. Somehow each day we must allow the softening of the heart. Otherwise our hearts will move inevitably toward hardness. We will move toward cynicism, bitterness, fear and despair. That's where most of the world is trapped and doesn't even know it" (Richard Rohr).