Some of us receive the precious opportunity in this time to use the struggles that we are experiencing to dedicating ourselves to fostering sanity, care, and justice in the world. We have heeded the call to abandon futility and meet our moral anguish, our grief, and our fear with openness and curiosity.
We have also allowed ourselves to be worked by the power of adversity in order to meet the unfolding and uncertain present with inquiry, hope, awe, and loving action.
If we can’t then we do not turn away from that. Sometimes we have to heap. Sometimes we make unfortunate mistakes and withdraw from the world in shame. Sometimes we falter in the midst. Sometimes we fall apart and stay that way a long time. And sometimes we need to step away, to retreat, to take the backward step.
It is simply not our time to step forward. But know, we too are being worked. And others are being worked in their own way. It is not to add the weight of judgment onto the burden that we are already carrying. It is not to turn away from our current experience, even if our response does not meet our so-called standards. It is rather to meet it with: “Hello, old friend. I know you.”
And for those of us who encounter moral anguish, grief, and fear head on, may we also come to meet our tangled world head on and realize that this is sacred work, as astro-physicist Adam Frank suggests. He writes: “It goes back to the very roots of being human, to a time when our hunter-gatherer ancestors could feel the sense of more when they came on a bend in a river or stumbled across a mountain glade. The sacred is the opposite of all those times when we are living in our heads, mulling over our worries, or focused on just trying to get by.
Sacredness appears in those moments when life overflows its banks—when we see the vast, variegated, and infinite network of life and being we each are part of.” I believe that this more is another given when we do not divert our gaze, when we do not turn away from anguish, when we do not turn away from this world, this earth, from each other, from ourselves.
This more of the sacred rests in the very marrow of our lives and as well rests between us and all beings and things