Paying attention: My middle son with Downs now wears hearing aids, which makes me sad, because it feels like another sign, along with the streak of silver grey in his hair, of his rapid aging. This is common in folks born with Down syndrome. The other recent change; I’m frequently telling him to “pay attention.”
Bearing witness: I was telling a friend about a movie I’d seen -based on a true story- of the war in Afghanistan. She asked why I would see something that disturbed me so much that I had to close my eyes several times to get through it. For me it’s about bearing witness to events in our lives that are so momentous, we need to be aware, be involved, pay attention. Bernie Glassman says; “We bear witness to the joy and suffering that we encounter. Rather than observing the situation, we become the situation. We became intimate with whatever it is – disease, war, poverty, death. When you bear witness you’re simply there, you don’t flee.”
Elie Wiesel: In an online search with the phrase, bearing witness, you might find billy’s blog, you will certainly find many items about the Holocaust that decimated the Jewish population in Europe during World War 2, and photographer Lisa Kristine’s TED talk about modern slavery. And many more subjects beside those mentioned. Learning about the Holocaust was an important part of my religious school classes as a teenager. Yet to learn of how we humans treat each other, is to know there have always been holocausts and perhaps always will? I sincerely hope not.
Friends and enemies: This is an Elie Wiesel quote, “There are victories of the soul and spirit. Sometimes, even if you lose, you win.” In light of facing a former friend last week, who along with several others I’d met, worked with and socialized in a religious context, have shunned me because their leader has shunned me? Maybe. Seems odd that intelligent people can’t make up their own minds, but hey, what do I know? It is harder for me to believe that though I lost so-called friends I’ve still won… but maybe knowing I’m true to myself, my friends, the people I love and care about is a win for me.
Gratitude and hope: I live in the land of joy for my life, the hope, sorrows and absurdities that occur while taking each day as it comes. And the mingled joy and and difficulty of the great task of caring for my Nato. The gratefulness for sunshine, trees in leaf outside my windows, breath in my lungs, our cat who likes to cuddle with me, my grandson building legos to conform to imaginary things… Mostly grateful for life.
And here in closing; one last quote by Elie Wiesel; “Look, if I were alone in the world, I would have the right to choose despair, solitude and self-fulfillment. But I am not alone.”
If only we could be good and kind to one another…