Lots of feelings came up for me this morning as I was watching the ending to the film, Castaway with Tom Hanks. The ending is so touching as he has to let go of the woman he loved and their dreams of being together…a lot like my journey of trying to come back after my mom’s death. I guess that moment in 1985 will always be with me, walking alongside of who I used to be and all that happened to me afterwards. Each step has been a miracle of sorts….one that leaves me with a sense of wonder at how I got here…how I survived and how it was that I was given another chance to live life again, not the same, but differently.
For a long time, during those three years, I was simply a shell of myself walking around…not really alive and not quite ready to die…just trying to just make it through another day. Reminding myself to eat, to go to work, to drive home, and then to sleep again. Each day was this same repetition for three long years. At night I kept having the same horrible nightmares: trying to save my mother, but each time having her die painfully in my arms.
When I look back on those dark and painful times, I think I am reminded of where I feel we are today as a nation. I feel like we are no longer a semblance of who I thought we were as a country and as a people. We are separated by our fears and our hatreds, our tears and our rage at all the injustices that go unseen and ignored. How each day we hear of yet another shooting, another lie, another story of how the poor and sick are being shamed and blamed for choosing to live this way. I keep wondering…what has happened to our compassion and caring, our prayers and our sense of community that we so fervently preach from the safety and sanctity of our religious pulpits? Why have those words on each police car: Serve and Protect that now make us wonder: Who are they serving and protecting?
Each generation has its horrifying moments in history: the Civil Rights and McCarthy era, the burning of communities of color in Tulsa, Oklahoma and throughout California, the Holocaust, the burning of Chinatowns, the Japanese Internment, the trail of tears of the First People, the George Floyd murder and the hate killing of Matthew Shepherd, Vincent Chin, Robert F. Kennedy and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. are just a few painful glimpses into our long violent history of hate and fear.
And so, as this year is about to expire, I have this message to share…a fervent prayer whispered out of fear it will not be heard or believed:
<p”>To my ancestors and to yours…I ask for their forgiveness for breaking our promises: to take good care of each other, to share what we have and to take good care of the land.
A participant in one of my workshops said to me: “I want you to address me by my proper pronoun, not because it is important to me, but because it is also important to you.”
<p”>You see, there is no ‘cancel culture’ just doing what is right and decent for all of us: for our children, our families, our communities, and the next generation. We each are just passing through this world, however brief. As someone once shared with me: There are two important moments in our lives: the day we were born and the day we find out why.
So, my prayer and hope for 2022 is that we come together, in peace and with love in our hearts. Remembering that when one of us falls, we all fall. And when one of us rises, we all rise.
Isn’t that how it was supposed to be?