How can I tell. How can I ever say. The love that animates the slightest gesture that the eye never sees, the ear never hears, the skin never feels. How do I slide into our heart where love radiates? I do not. I don't even try for it is our heart through which we swim. One does not slide into those waters, one dives.
Those of us who ultimately learn to forgive ourselves are the lucky ones. Those of us who never forgive are the powerless; yet there we are in all levels of life from the alcohol soaked denizen of bridges and tunnels sleeping at high noon to the chairs of courts supreme where nothing ever is decided. The heart does not hunt. Its prey willingly dies. We are purveyors of lies, victims of fabrications. So many attempts at eradicating that greatest power permeate our sphere. The North Pole melts our vengeance until we freeze from lack of contact.
Syria dominates our eye. Children slaughtered, mothers denied breath as they cover the soul of their womb. Humanity stares with slack mouths, open blank eyes. Spin our blue, globular home and anywhere we point we find suffering. Often there is murder. We murder each other, sometimes with impunity. There we see Darfur, here we feel Appalachia. They share violence, poverty. Our collective soul quivers.
Is it more violent to execute someone in the head or to leave a defenseless child starving in the middle of immense wealth?
Earthquakes of despair incessantly shake our equilibrium. So, we invent politics. We pretend that through this impossible, money laundering scheme we will somehow arrive at a place where we can ease suffering for our children. We move forward. We ache. We do not understand how we might grow compassion through our misery. We play with our children or our children's children as we try to forget our house is crumbling. Foundations held together by kindness and love are starving and dissolving into dust. After the smoke settles, we witness small, deadly silhouettes of black, keening figures bending their backs to bear witness.
Can we find joy surrounded by killing fields? Is there an answer? Great souls dance on the head of a pin flagging our attention. Once in a while an eye opens and killing stops. It happens. A Christmas truce in 1914 during the Great War miraculously revealed love's humanity in the midst of gas, blood and plunder. What happened to our Christmas truce?
It is true that we focus upon the ghastly waters that rile from shore to shore, drowning our consciousness with anguish. But we do not feel the subtle, powerful, undertow that is gathering force throughout this cerulean globe; countless deeds of love emanating from quotidian souls. In one circle, a man brings bagels and lox to his boss who has been giving him a hard time. This employee has decided to love his employer.
Another circle turns and we find a 69-year-old woman, an artist, who volunteers for the Peace Corps so she may offer her skills to impoverished children living on an island known as a glittering port for cruises. But our artist lives on the other side of civilization where ships never gander. She brings joy, knowledge, love and respect to children who willingly reveal the same to her.
Over in the corner, a woman wakes up imbued with God's love. She is brought to her knees. She decides to donate bone marrow to a boy who would not live if he did not receive this magnificent gift. The child is a stranger to this newly awakened woman. She is anonymous.
On an Atlantic island a middle class wife, mother, educator and artist creates an economic exchange between an African village of artisans and her friends and neighbors both on land and in cyberspace. Singlehandedly, she helps build schools and nurtures families. She is a woman waging peace.
The hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of single, anonymous parents who struggle against all odds to nourish their children and the miracle of one such child rising out of government-sponsored housing to go to Princeton University on a full scholarship while asserting herself in her freshman year both academically and artistically as one of the brightest and best.
Then there is the breast cancer survivor who gives birth to The Annie Appleseed Project, an organization that goes on to help countless women (and men) who live with cancer. Annie, herself, survives the disease.
There are others.
I am but one limited human being who personally knows of these examples. Imagine how much more is out there! The heroic kindness and compassion that is expressed every single day in an infinite pool of love levitates our collective soul.
The invisible current of compassion slowly rises to the surface. Let us immerse ourselves after so many years of being out to sea.