So much pain in the world, so much senseless hatred, so much sorrow. Human beings who want what someone else has; human beings who fear losing what they possess. Possessions that mean more than people. Idealistic dreamers who lost their ideals and dreams and became their parents, but with multi-car garages, portfolios, and children murdering children. Broken adults raising children whose greatest aspiration is to escape being broken.
Children die because the color of their skin violates an unwritten law. Children die because they’re collateral damage in another child’s pain. Children die because society imposes conformity upon them until they believe dying is the only road to freedom.
Were I seeing Earth for the first time, its beautiful blues swirled with white, I’d feel a gentle tug on my heart, but closer inspection would render that heart broken into pieces. Eyes shimmering as if the rain, I’d want only to turn away, but I can’t turn away no matter the pain.
True, I already experienced enough pain early in life, understanding life’s darkness before I could define the word. At times compassion was praised, but in reality it was treated as a weakness worthy of scorn. I’ve forgiven and it eased the weight. I let time cast a fuzzy, off-kilter lighting to the memories. I drove over 10 hours in a snowstorm and subzero temperatures while my damaged lungs struggled to keep up because I was determined to reach a fresh horizon.
It’s time to summon the determination that I allowed to fall into crisis—again. It’s time to allow myself to administer compassion—to myself.
I’ve weathered many hardships, as many have, and the ones I suffered as an adult I’ve overcome. Those inflicted at a young age are sometimes more than deep, they’re ingrained until they became learned behaviors, until they became demons.
They’re up to me to fix, but first I must allow the process to begin.
That’s one reason moving has helped, for exposing the demons required emptying the room until there was nothing left except the demons that were hiding. Now it’s just me and them, though I have to admit I feel too old to wrestle demons, especially demons as old as me who seem to have more energy than I possess.
I have no desire to live in the past, for there’s nothing there I’d ever want to return to. Not when the path that was my childhood too often resembled the path out of Mordor. At the same time, if there are stones in your shoe then they entered in the past and if you don’t remove them in the present it’s difficult to move forward.
Of course, being a stubborn Taurus I attempted to keep walking while ignoring the stones. After all, to admit the stones existed required compassion for myself and that was weakness. I know…denial. I need to accept that past actions modified my childhood development, for the truth is that I was “damaged.” At some point I have to admit I was symbolically dropped on my head and deal with the consequences.
Still, though I may be Frodo—hand outstretched, staring at the ring, and knowing what I must do—doesn’t mean I want to do it, to face it. More than once I’ve ventured a few feet down that path to glimpse the sadness (infinite sadness I called it in my poetry book) for writing purposes. How arrogant, ill-advised, and reckless on my part, for too often it was difficult to make my way back.
Sure, I’d forgiven, but that didn’t enable me to start trusting people again. Believe me, I have trust issues that may be unrivaled and ignoring the past doesn’t fix that.
I had a recent conversation with someone who knows I’m a writer and suggested I chronicle portions of my life. Almost immediately the following conversation resulted:
“Have you considered writing a book?”
“I’ve written books…”
“I mean your story…like your poetry book.”
“I’m a fiction writer. Besides, who’d want to read about this?”
“People need to hear this story, Christina. People need to know.”
Is all this possible? Is this truly reality and someone is suggesting that the best way to heal is make the journey back to Mordor? She isn’t the first to suggest this, but I’ve long resisted. Why? Well, for one, it’s a dangerously painful path that leads back to the infinite sadness, to the dark place, to Mordor. More important, though, is that I’ve long believed no one would believe the tale.
I barely believe it.
So, lucky me, now I have a new inner struggle when all I want is inner peace. Of course, that’s the point. To move forward requires a detour where I take the path back to Mordor. Am I strong enough to do that? The early indications are: no. The counter-argument is always, “Look what you’ve made it through already.”
And maybe, just maybe, this is as much about compassion for others as much as it is about me. Maybe more so. After all, to help myself is to help one, but to share is to possibly help many. Truly, the only thought scarier than making the journey back to Mordor is the thought of someone else making the trek in my place. I couldn’t live with myself…
Whether this blog post turns out to be an admittance of weakness or a declaration of strength remains to be seen. In the meantime, I’m delving into compassion, for that examination may help me do what my heart tells me I should. In conjunction, I’m participating in 1000 Voices for Compassion, an effort to share compassion via social media. On February 20th we’ll all coordinate our efforts to flood the globe with compassion as a counter to the darkness the media too often prefers to share.
In a way, 1000 Voices is my Sam and that thought gives me more strength.
More on this topic will follow on this blog, but you can also follow 1000 Voices for Compassion via #1000Speak on Twitter.