There is a line in a song that says:
“Look beyond ourselves, there’s so much sorrow,
It’s way too big to say I’ll cry tomorrow”
I thought of that line today when an underlying feeling of sadness crept into my day along with an occasional drift of anger. Where did that come from? Possibly a combination of things – a valuable co-worker resigning because of poor communication and a huge lack of cohesiveness in the working environment; a woman on the radio speaking about her trip to Rwanda and helping mothers bury the bones of their children; reading a book that touched on, among other things, the horrible domination over Native Americans in the early days of our country and the indescribable treatment of African Americans from our beginnings to our more recent past.
All of these things seem almost unreal, and we need to feel the feelings that go along with the last three so we can do everything in our power to see that they don’t happen again.
I realize that those feelings are too powerful and overwhelming to live with continually. We need to plant our gardens, run our businesses, play with our children, watch funny movies, enjoy good food, nature, and celebrations, but then we need to stop occasionally and think – think about how we are living our lives, treating other people, arranging our priorities, and doing our part to right the wrongs of the past and create a more humane and healthy future.
Can you apologize to someone whose life has been minimized because of responses to the color of their skin even if you personally had no part in that discrimination? Maybe it will begin to soften a heart that was hardened because of things that happened to them or their ancestors. Maybe not, but is that a risk we could take?
Could you invest something in the life of a child, even if it is not your own, to show the high value that should be placed on the lives of children?
Could you pray for our world and spend some time envisioning what “could be”?
The song I wrote about earlier also says:
“Each of us must find our truth; It’s so long overdue”
There are spiritual principles, I believe, that never change, but we are all individuals with different gifts and personalities, and we can each bring our truth, our own response, to the sorrows in the world.
The song goes on to say:
“So for tonight we pray for what we know can be,
And every day we hope for what we still can’t see,
It’s up to us to be the change, and even though we all can still do more,
There’s so much to be thankful for.”
Ah, there is the balance. . . We are moved to compassion as we allow ourselves to feel the feelings that the world’s sorrow brings, which causes us to picture a new world, which brings a new feeling of hope and expectancy, and through all this is woven a feeling of gratitude for all the good we are already experiencing, as well as the good we expect to come.
I think it is the thankfulness that balances the sorrow – try it sometime when something is weighing heavy on your heart. Practice being grateful for all the good in your life and in the world. Then go out with a renewed vision to bring your part of the truth to the world.