Monday, October 5, 2015

on my mind, in my heart

My friends, I really wish I had something fun or funny to say today, but my mind and heart are heavy with too many sad and difficult and scary things that are going on with people I care about.

I got messages from three of my friends last week with terrible news - a father's end stage Alzheimer's, a young mother's sudden passing, a young brother's cancer diagnosis. And my heart is breaking for each of these people and their families. Words just seem to fall short in the face of such things although at this point, that's really all I have to give. Words, and maybe a pot of soup, a hug. It's hard to know what to do.

I'll never forget something my uncle told my grandmother after my grandfather died very suddenly about 6 years ago now. He said to her, "Sometimes life is just shit." And you know what? He's right. At this moment, right now, that reality is all too true for many many people that I love and care about, and while I know that there is suffering and sickness and shit all over the world all the time, it seems especially unfair when it's close to home, doesn't it? I feel terrible and angry and sad about the shootings in Oregon last week, and the persecution that's happening overseas and the injustices that play out in all corners of the world each and every day. But although they are no less important that what my friends are going through, they are distant. Along with many others here in the US, I have no experience with persecution or war and I am incredibly thankful for that and hope that I never find out what they're like. I'm fairly certain that I'm not a strong enough person to handle such things. But I do know about Alzheimer's and losing someone suddenly and the devastating news of cancer. Those things are real to me with the life experience I have up to this point.

And knowing sucks. Because I know what my friends are going through and I know how hard it is and I wish I could take it all away and make things easy again. I wish I could, but I can't. The only thing I can do is pray and offer my friends as much love and support as possible. So that's what I'm going to do.

Life takes community and friendship and help. We can't do this on our own. Hug the people you love, be patient and slow to anger, don't rush, appreciate the little things, the small wonders. Write notes, make phone calls, send cards, make soup, show up. Because life can change in the blink of an eye. Let's take care of our own, and then let's support those that need us in distant places, too. Let's take the hand of the person closest to us and encourage them to do the same. Let's do life together. Because although it doesn't make it any easier, Jack Johnson got it right. We're always better when we're together. All of us. Here in Richmond and Virginia and the US and all over the world. Life is better when we love each other and help each other and support each other. 

So let's start right now. Will you join me? This week I'm going to send a card, be extra patient, make a pot of soup, buy a gift card, pay for someone in line behind me, pray. What will you do? Let's all do something. Even if you don't know someone going through a hard time. There are plenty of strangers on the street that would love a smile or a prayer or a free cup of coffee. It doesn't have to be big. But let's do something. 

It's so true, what my uncle said. Sometimes life really is just shit. But even though we can't make the bad stuff go away and we can't always make things any easier, we can slog through the mess together. 

Wishing you peace and hope this week, my friends.

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