We Need Courage, Not Hope, to Face Climate Change – The On Being Project

Kate Marvel captures and expresses my feelings here:

We need courage, not hope. Grief, after all, is the cost of being alive. We are all fated to live lives shot through with sadness, and are not worth less for it. Courage is the resolve to do well without the assurance of a happy ending. Little molecules, random in their movement, add together to a coherent whole. Little lives do not. But here we are, together on a planet radiating ever more into space where there is no darkness, only light we cannot see.

In Memoriam, Ten Years On

Mom died ten years ago this week. I posted the following on March 7, 2009 in the Blogger version of this site. A lot has happened since then and my grief, when I recognize it, is not strong or overwhelming. Mostly, I remember the good times and what she modeled for me. I know I’m a better person and parent because she was my mom.

The photo was taken on or around that day from the back patio of my childhood home. I’ve always loved the sunsets from there.

In Memoriam

In memory of Loretta Smith
Wife, mother, grandmother and more
We will no longer feel the touch of her hand
We will no longer hear the sound of her voiceHer knowledge, wisdom, and love live on in us
As we who were the beneficiaries of her generous life
Incorporate her gifts into our lives
And carry forward our versions of it
To those whose lives we touch

In this way she bequeaths to each of us
A strand in an unbroken web
Stronger for her care and our connections through her

In wonder we’re born
In beauty we live
In mystery we die

Heading Gently Into That Long Good Night

Grief Requires Care

The response to grief (one’s own or another’s) requires care – care of self and care of others. The essay Everyone Around You is Grieving. Go Easy. by John Pavlovitz speaks to me. I want to move through the world being sensitive to those around me. I’m not sure that I can do it continuously – that could be exhausting! – but I think that my tendency toward introversion may be based in part on my ability to observe the emotional states of others.

I was at the store one evening earlier this week. I was in a backed-up checkout line and noticed a woman who seemed on the verge of tears. I almost asked if she was okay but ended up not because I thought that if I did it might break her apparent determination not to cry. Of course, I was also weighing what it could cost me (in emotion and attention) if she did break down. I weighed that against the chance that she would appreciate – or not appreciate – being seen in that state.

The tenth anniversary of my mom’s death is less than two weeks away. For whatever reason my grieving doesn’t go the “blubbering” route but I do get the “gaping chasm” part, the “why am I buying bananas” part. After ten years I am much less encumbered by that grief.

Yet, I see much more grief in the world these days. In the essay, he lists a number of reasons that people may be stumbling through the world in pain and grief. It is assuredly a partial list but, as someone who is trying to see the world with an additional focus on racism and oppression, I notice that his list does not include the grief of people who live in the shadows of our culture of bigotry:

  • Those fearing summary deportation without (adequate) due process
  • Those worrying about extrajudicial killings targeting black, brown, native, and mentally ill people.
  • Those caught in grinding, multigenerational poverty.

…and more. I am working toward seeing the world with open eyes, open mind, open heart, and open hands.

Note: I am open to receiving feedback on ways that my choice of words could be improved to be more welcoming and less offensive. No, I’m not trying to be “politically correct”, just less of a jerk.