As a pantheist, I’ve also become more interested in spiritual/deep ecology. Joanna Macy is one of the spokespeople for that movement, and I wanted to share this quote from her:
“We are capable of suffering with our world, and that is the true meaning of compassion. It enables us to recognize our profound interconnectedness with all beings. Don’t ever apologize for crying for the trees burning in the Amazon or over the waters polluted from mines in the Rockies. Don’t apologize for the sorrow, grief, and rage you feel. It is a measure of your humanity and your maturity. It is a measure of your open heart, and as your heart breaks open there will be room for the world to heal.” — Joanna Macy
I agree with her. I think we have to feel deeply, even the “bad stuff,” for healing to truly begin, for changes to be made. I have spent a lot of time lately crying over what’s going on in terms of the environment, animals, etc., laws being passed, feeling sorrow and grief and yes, anger. But I don’t think sugar-coating things and seeing only the positive is really helpful, at least not in my experience. Compassion and feeling even the darker feelings, feeling someone’s or something’s pain, not always just the happy and joyous feelings, is part of living an authentic life, is part of connecting on a deeper level. Yes, I’ve been called a Pollyanna because I’m hopeful that things will change, and it’s true, I am hopeful much of the time, and I am joyous over the birds I see or the river I walk beside, but believe me, I spend plenty of time crying and ranting, too, and feeling heartbroken and even, for a short time, a bit hopeless. The two things, feeling the dark feelings and acknowledging them, while still holding out hope, aren’t mutually exclusive.
Copyright (c) 2017 by Raindrop Ridge Press
This picture of a Syrian man and his two children that has been circulating around on Facebook reminded me that years ago, before cell phones, I was driving to my parents’ house. It had started snowing, one of those snows that stick fast and makes the road slick without much warning. It was just getting dark. I slid off the side of the road and couldn’t do anything but spin. Heather was little and Kim was a baby. So I got out and started walking, carrying Kim, holding onto Heather, lugging a purse and a diaper bag. There wasn’t much traffic, but a truck stopped beside me and a man asked if I needed a ride. Normally I wouldn’t get in a truck with someone I don’t know, but these were bad circumstances, and I trusted my instincts, which rarely, if ever, have let me down, and the kindness of a stranger. I told him it wasn’t too far down the road, and we got in out of the cold and snow. We got to the bottom of my parents’ road and I saw my dad watching for us. The man stopped to let us out but asked me was I sure that was my dad’s car? I thought that was so ironic since I’d never seen this man in my life. I thanked him and we got to my parents’ house safe and sound. I want to be that person and part of a country who is there for someone when they have no good choice but to trust strangers to take care of them and their family. We never know when we may need the same thing, even on a very small level. There’s a risk with most everything we do, but sometimes we have to trust, and always we can choose to be worthy of trust ourselves. We can be sensible without giving up compassion.
Update: I recently saw on Facebook where this family safely reached Canada. I wish them happiness in their new life (12/29/15)
copyright (c) 2015 by Raindrop Ridge Press
(photographer unknown – photograph from Facebook)