"...I wrote...for the next generation so they know that we did everything we could to
create a better future for them...this...is dedicated to tomorrow's children..."
Neda's sister, the day before public death
A Foot in Both Worlds. We can become so comfortable with where we are that we're afraid to move into really living and creating more relevant lives. Living in a world changing so rapidly, it's nearly impossible to keep up with shifts around the planet. This is the world our children, and their children, are inheriting. The course of events is ever-changing.
When my life-long friend and I emerged from our 'cave' after four days of retreat and soul-retrieval, we were stunned by what had taken place 'out there,' in our absence. Up until the news of Iran, and then, North Korea, we'd spent a fair amount of time focusing on the imperative of finding joy. It's one thing to speak of joy, and even find it, when 'all's well.' It is quite another beastie to locate joy in a world teetering on destruction, despair, and disappointment. And this doesn't even begin to touch upon the personal challenges so many of us face today, unseen on our radar six months ago. In one sense, the very attempt to find joy may seem even blasphemous. Despite this, let's remember that it's essential we find a way to navigate with one foot in the concrete world, regardless how grim that may seem, and the other foot in that mysterious region which brings reminders of all that is good, holy and redeeming without regard to whether we deserve such miracles or not. After all, no matter how tough winter has been, (and it has) spring comes 'round again.
Meanwhile, half-way around the world, a few short days ago, the college-aged author of the quote above prepared herself to stand up in her own truth, regardless the cost. A few short hours later, her sister, the world now knows as 'Neda,' was killed violently from a gunshot to her chest. A death captured on cell phone, and witnessed 'round the world through social networks. Frankly, only last week many my age were either bewildered by Twittterdom's tweets, or found them annoying. So much for fixed beliefs. By now, most of us are well aware that these very networks have been the lifeline to the voice of a people courageously refusing to be denied in its cry for freedom.
The Call. Ironic that the now, martyred 'Neda's' name is symbolic for the 'Calling.' Her dying face leaves us with this very question of 'Call.' Historically, it's one that's been delegated to the religious, mystics, artists, and those who resonate to the urgings of the interior life, the poetry of the soul. But, today, regardless whether you are comfortable with the language of 'the Call' or not, the reality is that we are faced with the imperative of considering how our choices today contribute to the nourishment and growth of our young, or impede their process of becoming.
Today, as I sit in King County's Superior Court jury selection room, awaiting determination of whether I'll be serving this summons, or dismissed, Neda's face haunts. Like too many of us, I'm afraid, I, too, have been inwardly, and not so-inwardly, whining, and hoping that I would not 'have to' use this week caught up in someone else's drama. You know the drill: the many 'have to's' and 'oughts' demanding attention on our to-do list. We do not like to be inconvenienced. I've slipped into the Bermuda Triangle of self-importance thinking: that sort of egoic 'I've got people to meet, places to go, things to do" attitude. Remembering Neda's sacrifice, I am ashamed.
The fact is it's far too easy to succumb to the call of the comfortable, and forget what it means to put everything you've got on the line for what really matters: the care, feeding and protection of new life. I thank you, Neda, and all those courageous souls who march everywhere for 'tomorrow's children,' that they be free. I thank you for your life, your contribution. I thank your nameless sister for your message, too. I grieve with you, her father; as well as you, a stranger, who knelt beside the pool of blood, and pleading for a return to life. I hold your faceless mother, family, and friends in the heart of my prayers.
The Real Question. Today's newscasters debate whether Neda's photograph will change the course of the Iranian regime. It's doubtful. A deeper question may well be are we willing to let its impact touch our own hearts, and deepen our commitment to living more aware lives? Perhaps the real issue is how do we find joy in a world where too many of us are seduced by comfort, and so few have the courage to rise up in the face of adversity in the hope of making this a better world, a world of greater aliveness, compassion, and fuller freedom, despite the dictators, power mongers, and soul whores that governments, politics, and mega corporations seem to normalize. How do we come home to our heart? How do we forgive ourselves as Prodigals, returning to what holds deepest value as we prepare the way for our children, that they might stay awake more than have we?
Renewing Hope. As I ask this question of myself, a memory returns that offers a clue. Five days ago, we found out we were 'godparents', of sorts, to a new little family nestled in the trellis two feet from our front door! Returning from what I call The Motherhouse, my neighbor George led me to the miracle: atop a lush, freshly crafted nest sat a petite mother robin. Sequestered amongst the leaves, her dark chocolate eyes stared back at me. Despite the fact that I was inches away, she did not budge. Her commitment to protecting her un-hatched eggs, clear. By now, her babies are three. Mama and papa are taking shifts, returning with wiggly and crawly things for their ravenous, outstretched beaks. This morning, as I trundled off to court, an exhausted mama was sleeping alongside her babies, their beaks upturned through their feathers, anticipating early breakfast. There was joy in Mudville. I could not help but smile.
Thank you, Big Mama. What we can do, despite the mess in our world, is renew our vow to keep our eyes wide open to joy where we find it, for gratitude, where we've lost it, and pass along our message of thanks to those who could use it. For openers, I thank you for being here, being you, making a difference.
A Call for Help: My jury number's just been called. Join me. Please forward your messages via your response to this article, to all those in our world who are standing strong for tomorrow's children, for Neda's family,too. You never know who's watching, who could use the lift of your thoughts, feelings, encouragement. Please link the above to your circle of contacts. Let's kick ass, and raise some voices. Together, let's come home to heart. I will do my best to get back to you as soon as possible. Bless you.
Follow Dr. Cara Barker on Twitter: www.twitter.com/DrCaraBarker