The beautiful world is in a terrible state
I grieve for the world, when I see Halloween join Christmas as a spectacularly wasteful “holiday.” I work in the recycling industry, and the amount of plastic generated this time of year in the form of disposable decorations is deplorable. I try to enjoy the human connections and the turn of the seasons, and pray for the suffering world and its people.
Diana. Just two words.
Absolutely love a gravitational pull love ❤️
Thanks Eileen--the "nobody's right..." is a quote from "For What It's Worth"-- I think it sums up way too much! Would generally agree w/ your reply. I see two other major causes for today's 'world'-- the historical rise of Religious Fundamentalism in ALL Traditions, going back, well, a long way-- Gandhi's murder and then forward for sure. And I'd tied that directly to the shifting paradigms of the Postmodern world--and that conflict w/ both Modernism but especially the Traditional worldview, which has generated the Fundamentalist rising tide. Even more with the linkage of that Fundamentalism's attachment to Nationalism, again, in all Traditions and worldwide...this has been brewing for a long, long time...and too many political actors don't recognize or understand it much at all, but the ones that do are playing it pretty well to their longing for power. Think of the Iraq invasion and the way American policy totally ignorance of the Sunni/Shi'ite realities. Then the whole Israeli settlement movement, based upon reclaiming the 'Biblical homeland'--mixed w/ the Christian fundamentalist support, which interestingly ignores Palestinian Christians and put that opposed the different fundamentalist Muslims from both divisions and the willingness of all these parties to create a Holy War to bring about their understanding of 'God's Will'--and you have a major mess.
Now these groups may well be 'not the majority' at all, but there's enough of them with plenty of hate-filled rhetoric and actions to threaten the well-being of 'the rest of the world.' Just wait until that spills over in force for the U.S. 2024 election: that's a whole other layer of destabilization that may well bring about conditions beyond our imagined fears.
Sorry-- I've gotten all wound up after reading about the polls in key swing states that now have Trump leading Biden. I'm beyond flustered... Anyway, thanks for your comment...
You have written what I have been thinking and feeling, but could not have written. Thank you. Thank you so much for the reminder that we can face all this, we can do this (love). I feel afraid so much of the time, not for myself (I'm old) but for my grandchildren who are very young and full of life and wonder. I am sad; and I am frightened.
Thank you for your helpful words of comfort and courage.
Thank you Diana for naming the grief and horror that haunt us day by blessed day in every felt connection with the world - and for offering these poems to carry with me. I am married to a Jew, who has lived all her life with the generational trauma of the hatred and destruction of the Jews. All of that so deeply reinforced by the events and opinions of these recent weeks. And, she is a Jew who also wants freedom for the Palestinians, who holds onto our shared sacredness of all humans.
Never has “an eye for an eye makes the whole world blind” been more obvious; again, the sense that “nobody’s right if everybody’s wrong” describes the current international landscape too well.
How many Palestinian children must die to equate the death of one Israeli child? How does the memory and collective guilt of an historical holocaust justify the generation of a new one right before our eyes?
How many ‘mass shootings’ in the U.S. are too many when there are multiple ones each week? How can we dare continue to “offer thoughts and prayers” for victims and families when the will to change the institutional controls that allow this reality to have become our ‘new normal’ is nothing more than lip-service?
My Catholic Tradition is built upon a principle that embraces ‘Both/And,’ insisting that the dualistic reduction(s) forced by Either/Or cannot bring about true peace, love and understanding. And really, “what’s so funny about” that goal and desire? Social justice and personal fulfillment are built upon the principles of the Common Good AND the Dignity of the Person: NOT one or the other. It is much more an image such as Yin/Yang more than some dividing line.
No political leadership in our current world has the foresight, the honesty, or the gumption to embrace Both/And.
Just getting to this post. . . "retirement" seems to have gifted me more responsibilities rather than greater "free" times. I have been sharing similar thoughts/feelings/fears/anxieties/isolations these past days. In the midst of Halloween Day an old, tattered, crumpled sticky note 'happened' to fall out of my wallet. It bore this reminder from the Jesuit Priest, Greg Boyle:
"Rest in the stillness of Love and love in the Stillness of God"
May the Peace/Stillness of El Roi be with us all.
I hear you. So much cruelty leading to so much suffering. How can we think, let alone say. "Happy Halloween" in the face of it all? And yet, on October 31 I was in the dentist's office. All the staff had dressed up as characters from Shrek. The front desk admin was Princess Fiona. The dental assistant was Gingerbread Man. The hygienist was Ugly Sister. They were having a lot of fun with their roles, making patients laugh, all while accepting donations on behalf of families in the community. Well, I still hate Halloween. But these guys made it an occasion to spread good will. They displayed a generosity of spirit that made me think of those UNICEF boxes we carried around as kids when we went trick-or-treating. And they demonstrated your thought that "Perhaps the gravitational pull of the universe isn't emptiness. Maybe it is love."
Just . . . thank you for this, and especially for including "Beannacht".
I wonder what Leonard Cohen would say, if he were alive today. Also, I’d like to add below his lyrics for “Anthem,” which seem strangely appropriate, given your thoughtful post above:
The birds they sang
At the break of day
I heard them say
Don't dwell on what has passed away
Or what is yet to be
Ah, the wars they will be fought again
The holy dove, she will be caught again
Bought and sold, and bought again
The dove is never free
Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack, a crack in everything
That's how the light gets in
We asked for signs
The signs were sent
The birth betrayed
The marriage spent
Yeah, and the widowhood
Of every government
Signs for all to see
I can't run no more
With that lawless crowd
While the killers in high places
Say their prayers out loud
But they've summoned, they've summoned up
They're going to hear from me
You can add up the parts
But you won't have the sum
You can strike up the march
There is no drum
Every heart, every heart
To love will come
But like a refugee
Thank for this with its raw honest emotion
For me it’s a deep in my bones I know not what word describes. Yes we can feel this and hold it yet also see beauty We can hold many things at the same time in us yet truth is describing this pain also. Because it hurts to ache for the world and the now. And yes a fear for the future It’s our deep care and love that brings us here to this ache fear pain
We can share that together
Thank you more than I can describe for every word you wrote and things you shared.
Yes! I am afraid, too! Yet, I love even more. Frederick Buechner’s wisdom is sound, as is Richard Rohr’s of CAC
Thank you my dear DIana. It is easy to fall into despair with so much bad news cascading over us. It is easy to lose the thread in the tangle of destruction tossed over us. But there is always more. Even in the darkest exile of the Babylonian captivity there were prophets counseling "Do not be afraid." Even when the very presence of the comforter comes to God's people, the words must be repeated "Do not be afraid." Fear is the enemy that undermines and denies our hope. But hope is real. Even in refugee camps and death camps it is hope that renews and against all hope sustains life.
I am in the throes of transition and watching my parish shrink and consolidate into something different. I could be overwhelmed as my call changes and my income becomes an unknown. But I am grateful to have the insight and the tools to accept what is and lift my eyes to the misty hills, watching for my help to come from I know not where. Something is afoot and it is strange and as yet unseen. I trust though that I am not alone, we are not separate, and inexplicably God is in it. I am blessed. I am rich. I have food and a warm bed! Retirement is not a guarantee or a promise to rely upon, it may well be a mirage. We who are proclaimers, healers, shamans of the soul, we have always lived a life of precarity. And this beautiful world has always suffered terrible wounds.
Fear not. God is in it.
We are here.
This is uncertainty.
This is instability.
This is change.
Thank-you so much for your words today. I am in the process of creating our Christmas card for this year, and words I've used in the past feel too fluffy, superficial, and empty. Last night, it came to me to focus on love and I was thinking about 1 Cor. 13. Your words today gave context to what I'm feeling. Here is what our card will say:
As we celebrate God’s sending unconditional love in a tiny baby boy to all on Earth, we reflect on the events of this year and the impact on God’s people and God’s earth. Now is the time to reclaim God’s love and to share it.
“Love is still love – holy, human, hallowed. It is what we have. This is not the moment to stop loving the world. We must love more deeply, embrace one another.” - Diana Butler Bass
“Let the quietness of your peace enfold us, all dear to us, and all who have no peace. The night heralds the dawn. Let us look expectantly to a new day, new joys, now possibilities.” New Zealand Book of Common Prayer.