In the passion to never forget, what are we never forgetting?
Are remembering the lives, the laughs, the gifts of presence of each other? Are we remembering the gratitude, the bravery, the compassion and the caring?
Humans have a unique capacity to mark time through the tragedies that befall civilization. Volcanoes, Hurricanes, Blizzards, Fires, and acts of violence and hate from one human to another.
In never forgetting we remember the tragedy, we remember the horror, we remember the anger, and the hate that inevitably boils up from undiscerned anger. We lower ourselves to the memory of the last few seconds of a person’s life. We replay that moment over and repeatedly, until it becomes the topmost memory of our recognition of that person.
Tragedies need to be remembered so that we may learn from EVERY aspect of them, not only the initial horror and anger and sorrow and grief that spring form such events. Each event offers a new beginning.
Meister Eckhart says that for us to return to our beginnings is to return to God, because God is “always in the beginning,” and in that sense God is always young and always new.” (Matthew Fox)
In these moments, in the remembering of these moments we can return to recognize the beginning available in the moment. That all of this, all our experiences are part of the sacred story of the Universe, of Divine. These stories move us all. We connect to our past loved ones in deep, sacred, holy ways. Relationship to our fellow humans is at the center of our human exploration. We learn from our interactions with the Earth, with the Universe and the part of the Universe’s Light manifested as humans.
How we tell stories make a difference. They allow the seeds of growth, of compassion, caring and the furthering of a better relationship with all peoples or it can continue to sow the seeds of separation and competition.
Bishop Marc Andrus says, “Love arises naturally from the Light of the Truth, as hatred is the product of the delusion of Night. The two symbolic systems of “Light and Truth and Love” and “Night and Delusion and Hate” seem to be polar opposites, not connected to one another. However, in our lives it is such that, “The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness cannot overcome it.” The two are in relationship with one another throughout our lives.
Jesus instructs all of us to be a Light of the World. We should not “hide our light under a bushel but put it on a lamp stand for all to see” (Matthew 5:15)
The Buddha said, “Be a light unto yourself.”
“The Celtic people are said to have “adored the light. Light is the mother of life. Where there is no light, there can be no life.” The Scriptures say God is “wrapped in a robe of light!” (Psalm 104:1-2) and the first act of creation was God saying, “Let there be light” (Gen 1:3-5). Hildegard of Bingen calls God “the supreme fire” that “enkindles every spark of life.” For Meister Eckhart God “glows and burns with all the divine bliss in the spark of the soul.” For Buddhists, the living Buddha is “always shining, always enlightening trees, grass, birds, human beings, always emitting light.” Sufi mystic Hafiz believes “our destiny is to turn into Light itself.” (Matthew Fox)
How are we sharing the light within grief? How are we remembering times of tragedy while also recognizing the light within the choices that were offered in the moment. How did the light shine despite difficulty?
Choices on how we witness, reflect and BE the Light in ALL situations are the stories we are writing for the Universe. Individuals recognizing that they are the hands, eyes, ears, mouthpiece and light of creation and choosing to be that despite the shortsightedness of other individuals.
At the end of World War Two instead of beating the losing side into complete submission and destitute there was an effort to help each other rebuild, to put compassion before hatred and revenge. In the generations after those countries are some of the most prosperous and progressive nations on the planet. In a sign of cooperation and peace, the United States, who had the most powerful weapons at the time in the atomic bomb and demonstrated as such, chose to be part of a United Nations, a group formed with the hope of solving world issues with diplomacy and peace instead of violence.
Both decisions may not have been executed perfectly, or without difficulty, yet they were and still are decisions to further compassion, and caring. They shine LIGHT.
Within each tragedy there is an opportunity for a new beginning, a new chapter, a new choice in how to shine the Light we are all created. ALL of us. Within each tragedy we can recognize the fullness of life experienced by all who fell to or experienced it in any way. We light a candle in remembrance of their Light as well as the Light in each of us to move forward with Light.