The world lost a light this week, and not just in our neighborhood, but the very street my adult daughter looks at from her front door each day. The one my little granddaughter stands behind, dreaming and watching the world go by.
And this week it did, and as Jessica Ridgeway sits forever safe in the arms of angels, her killer now waits in a cell for judgment, unable to hurt another gentle soul.
Aside from the absolute terror, which gripped us all this October, there was love. But as quickly as it appeared, and as fragile as the light from a child, it will soon be gone again. Remember when 911 happened, how we hugged and cried, flying flags, and singing songs of hope. In time the flags disappeared, and we just hummed when we thought of it.
Ironically that very night, I rushed this same daughter to the ER after calling 911, because an attack of hives was making it hard for her to breath. I was scared to death, never having had to dial those 3 fearful numbers before, watching my child in distress. However, everyone around us was wonderful despite the nation being in shock, and she came home later that night. I held her as she slept and felt humble, thankful for those who had been there for us.
The world was right again – and in time, she grew into a woman. We had mother daughter moments and fights, tears, hugs, and life took on the normal path that it always does. There was always going to be a next day for our unfinished business or that special something we always meant to do. So far, for us, there has been a next day, but really, who knows what is coming next?
My soul is one of giving, much to my own detriment as my family tells me. I trust, my boundaries are almost non-existent and I love. There are bell ringers in the winter who always get random hot chocolate, children who find gifts at their plate in a restaurant, and just panic I have eased, because I could and for no other reason – I never look at what is in it for me, I am in it for life. However, recent events over the past couple of years have sadly shown me my path for love and peace is more the road not taken, even if I try to make all the difference I can.
Single again at my age after 18 years of marriage is a new life. Many things have changed for me, often I am the one having a hard time, and asking for help is not easy. I have always been that go to person, the one who helps tying to get or fix anything they need, so this is a big rock in my path. Because I have never thrown rocks, something about a glass house –I try to move around them, and when I do it is amazing to find no one there.
In her last days, my mother was frustrated, feeling alone, and she referred a lot to the book, The Little Red Hen, saying sure where were they when I needed company, help or care? But when I am gone, little that I have, they will all claim a piece. They never claimed me with such intensity. She was a dear sweet person, with many people around claiming they would be there for her, but they never were. I understand it now more than ever and it hurts, no different than a temporary band-aid on a deep wound. Please, let the wound of loneliness and worry heal on its own, because when you only do temporary good it hurts more than you will ever know.
Am I guilty? Of course, I am human. I recently went to see an elderly woman I had not visited in several years, life changed for me after leaving our church and later my divorce. Her husband and I had been friends, and when he died there wasn’t a connection left, so time drifted us apart. After I left that day, with a bag of vegetables from her garden she insisted I take, she said please come back, you have been only one of two visitors since he died 6 years ago.
I know life moves on and people have their own lives. However, it takes people to make those lives, or are you just in the middle of nothing, alone like an island – almost Donne. How hard is it to try a little tenderness? Buy two and share one, finish yours and help another? Walk in a door and keep it open for another? Enjoy the day and share the feeling? Why is it so difficult?
In the soft candle light of fear, we always find the compassion our soul breathes, and we embrace it. We hold one another and want to be with others, feeling that calming warmth of love and peace we share, understanding and helping each other. Why do we always blow it in such a short time, and just run out?
When I helped run a food bank, I was disgusted on days I sorted donated canned items, using the experience in many speeches to organizations for assistance. Because you are without or in need, does not mean you suddenly like squid, tiny pepper crackers with capers, outdated peanut butter, and tuna in jalapeno sauce or even worse. You still like mac and cheese, a good conversation, being asked about your day, a cup of warm tea or coffee and a laugh. But no, fake do gooders without a thought, still clean out the shelves of things they got in a gift basket, or don’t want themselves – why because someone else will? A basic rule of thumb in this life will always be do unto to others – remember?
This life is a gift, and should you forget, you are present in it! Stop today, and don’t look for someone to watch you offer a pay it forward, or some random act of brag about it later kindness, JUST DO IT. However, attitude is as big a gift as anything you do, so check yourself, because if you are going to make someone feel like they have inconvenienced you, adding to their feelings of worthless – don’t waste your time, just walk back into your selfish darkness.
Remember, the person you are there for, will very easily be you someday and the ones we love are the ones we take for granted the most, assuming they are fine and there is after all always time – remember you are who you are, because of their sacrifices and love.
Peace can only work if we do our part making it a whole life. Never forget to use those 3 joyful words as often as possible – I Love You.
“World peace must develop from inner peace. Peace is not just mere absence of violence. Peace is, I think, the manifestation of human compassion.”
— HH Dalai Lama XIV