I am sitting under the tree that still has many leaves to shed. Those already fallen, spread around my feet, a carpet of gold.
I had to come outside. With the walls pressing in, fresh air was needed.
The temperature of the world has surely gone down this past week as the world reels in the wake of atrocities with many innocent caught in the middle.
Little ones, growing ones, parents and elders.
How have we come so low? For it is not just ‘over there.’ It is the whole of humanity that has stooped to another low low. That has lost its way. Whose pain and suffering has spilled over into an expression of more horror. We may be spared the immediate effects of such horror, and yet we are part of this same humanity that does this to one another.
What the actual fuck. mercy mercy mercy.
I sit in the shelter of the golden fall tree, rain drops start falling gently.
Grief sits on the heart. The world stooped in discouragement. My mind only barely able to touch the horror of mothers searching frantically for lost children.
I imagine the many voices reaching up to the heavens, wailing why and how and how could you? How could you, God, not prevent this darkest hour?! And more wails, in other valleys and plains, same cry and heart-wrenched anguish.
I am reminded of a mother I met years ago, who had lost her infant daughter. She spoke to me of the many words uttered that did nothing to comfort her… “It must have been her time.” “God’s will is a mystery.” “Perhaps for the better.” “Her soul only needed to land for a short time here on this earth.“ “She is in a better place.”
None of these did a thing to soothe, to understand the unfathomable grief of child cherished and lost.
But one. There was one sentence shared that changed the way the light slanted into the room, her heart, her grappling. And it was this:
“God is surely the first to weep alongside you as your bury your child.”
Could that be? The God we hear of with adjectives such as “all powerful”, “all mighty”, “creator of heaven and of earth”… could such a God be weeping? And not fricking intervening?
What if God is as dismayed, as torn apart — perhaps even more — than we are when witnessing the destruction we impose upon one another? Perhaps there are multitudes of angels, risen ones, God Itself, wanting so very much with every fibre of Existence to do something, to protect, to soothe, to hold back violence, to let Love flourish. And the one central contract that comes with Love is Freedom. Freedom. However terrible the choices made by the beloved and lost humans. Perhaps the heavens are filled with “WTF!?” How could they, our cherished humans turn against one other with such ferocity? Hand wringing. Wailing above, as below. Tethered to witness, in love, and limited by the contract intrinsic to Love: that Love sets free, that one gets to choose.
The closest I can get to pondering this as an actual possibility is my experience as a mother, woven with the experiences of parents across the earth over all the generations, as we are faced with this: To love your child is to let them go. Eventually. One day. They will head off into the great big world and they will make their choices. They will choose their friends, and partner. They will decide when they go to bed, what they eat, how they respond to Life in its challenges and its blessings. There is a point in each parenting journey where to hold on and hold back is to smother and stifle. There is a moment where we may watch in dismay as our child makes a choice, or a bunch of them, perhaps even years of them, that we disagree with. Weep and fret over. But Love holds the contract with Freedom. You cannot love and stifle. You cannot love and control the beloved.
Could it be that God similarly is weeping first? Is aghast at what we are choosing? Is waiting for us to reach out, up, inward… whatever the case may be, and to implore interference. To beg for mercy. To embody the Love offered. And yet, still then… the contract of Love is free will.
And could God really be trusting us to eventually make right choices? Are we not simply digging our graves over and over again? Are we not proving repeatedly and tragically that we are incapable of making right choice? If my musings hold, then who on earth came up with this design? Ha, back to God. What on earth was this Source of all Life thinking?! We are so flawed. Could there have been a better design? Is it really up to us to find peace within and amongst each other? Will we ever be up to the task? Is it truly in our hands to look at a situation as insurmountable as the conflict in the Middle East and to not give up, to keep looking creatively for the solution, the one that embraces all the people? That is all-considerate. That one. Are we capable of this?
I am reminded of the famous hands reaching between God and Human in Michelangelo’s “The Creation of Adam” fresco. One hand reaching down, the other up. Straining to reach, to touch. It has always felt to me to be an image of humans being invited to team work. To co-creativity. One wherein the ‘yes’ has to come from us, given freely. It is not enough to implore, to beg, to pray. We have to step up, step into the ring of fire too. Could we be more powerful than we ever thought, and also more powerless than we ever imagined? Could it be that God is inviting us to coordinate, to collaborate, even to synergise? It is our choice, to choose and to enact peace. To choose and enact Love. But we don’t have to do it alone.
Image credit: Daniel Bonnell