Yesterday I witnessed the graduation of two of my grandchildren, my heart going pitter patter with pride to think of them moving on in life and becoming the people they’re meant to be. Both of them were stepping through doorways into uncertainty, but they were doing it with conviction and a sly smile on the face. There is loss here, I thought, loss of childhood with all its narcissism and blowing of bubbles in the chocolate milk, or pitching tantrums because your mother forgot to pack your favorite nightgown. But this kind of loss doesn’t really hurt that much … it sort of quivers a bit in your chest as you shed a couple of tears, and it reminds you of the relentless fact of impermanence. There is hope here, there is openness to opportunities and adventures, and all who surround these young people feel celebratory.
And then there are different losses that come at us that are crushing. A successful and visionary man named Anthony who seemed full of the love of life and food and adventure in foreign lands hanged himself in his French hotel room, shocking us all. He and another celebrity in the fashion world, this woman named Kate who had likewise inspired many, reminded us in their violent acts that people all around us are carrying unspeakable dark burdens and profound hopelessness. And most of the time we don’t see the pain, and thus we are appalled and shaken by the self destruction… There is much we don’t understand about our fellow beings, it seems. Sad.
Fear and trauma are being visited on immigrant children who travel to this country with their parents, as they are literally torn away from family at the border and put in sterile and unloving environments. This scenario feels surreal — it should not be occurring in a civilized country — and it is terrifying — we can feel feel the cold terror if we stop to look carefully — and it is morally unacceptable. How can this country which was founded on the ideals everyones’ right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, condone such cruel actions? Children are losing parents, parents are losing children, our country is losing its humanity and moral authority.
I am losing a sharpness of memory which I am passing off as a sign of being part of the elder clan, and I’m trying not to fret. There are a lot of things I have to be grateful for in this 73 year old life: 5 generations of family, beautiful four legged pets, music, meditation, travel, writing, books, and my own passion for discovery which is still happily with me. This sense of possibility and hope should belong to all who live in this amazing country … that same confidence and curiosity and zest that I saw yesterday in my grandchildren …
In the interests of shedding light into the darkness, let’s all remember to speak our truth, to never presume we know what another person thinks and feels, and to work everyday to keep our beating hearts open, wide open.
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