Listening to the News in Spring

Spring broke through all my inattentiveness with a riot of color this week. The poppies and lupine trumpeted orange and purple, a row of plum trees displayed their delicate pink, and a tall, loose-limbed tree reminded the world, this is yellow. At the same time, the news was playing on the radio.

It’s difficult to reconcile the beauty of a spring day with war, racism, climate change, corruption—all of the hurt we humans in our woundedness do to each other and to the Earth. I often want it to be one way or the other, but we are not one way or the other. Life is not one way or the other.

To reconcile is not to choose one thing over another nor to consider one true and the other false, one more important and the other less so. Instead we must see and hold both, recognize the truth of suffering and of love.

This is the good news, the presence of love in the midst of suffering, not separate from it. We don’t know how to tell this story in our newscasts. We hear only of killing, cruelty, and destruction in certain areas of the world. We do not hear at the same time that people in that country are laughing, falling in love, marveling at a skill they learned for the first time.

Richard Rohr recommends saying, “Yes, and.” Yes, the rich oppress the poor and think it’s justified. Yes, in the town where each of us lives, today, a girl will be the victim of incest and a person of color will be discriminated against.

And love is the nature of existence. Love is the energy that moves the electrons comprising us in their orbits and continually gives itself away to make our universe anew every microsecond. Love is at the core of all of us in our most generous, most joyful, most selfish, and most destructive moments.

Here’s a poem from William Stafford about how to recognize this reality and what happens when we do.

Grace Abounding
by William Stafford

Air crowds into my cell so considerately
that the jailer forgets this kind of gift
and thinks I’m alone. Such unnoticed largesse
smuggled by day floods over me,
or here come grass, turns in the road,
a branch or stone significantly strewn
where it wouldn’t need to be.

Such times abide for a pilgrim, who all through
a story or a life may live in grace, that blind
benevolent side of even the fiercest world,
and might – even in oppression or neglect –
not care if it’s friend or enemy, caught up
in a dance where no one feels need or fear.

I’m saved in this big world by unforeseen
friends, or times when only a glance
from a passenger beside me, or just the tired
branch of a willow inclining toward earth,
may teach me how to join earth and sky.

 

4 thoughts on “Listening to the News in Spring

  1. I’m not sure why exactly, but I’m reminded of the Gospel story in which Christ asks some of his followers whether they want to continue to follow him. Their response is – where else can we turn, we’ve followed you this long. I’m also reminded of the story about the Buddha that conveys the theme that if your mind is desecrated, then everything around you will appear desecrated as well.
    We inhabit a singular reality that includes experiences of both love and suffering. That is the life we were born into and we can’t opt for another version. However, the views, opinions, assumptions that color and shape experience, sometimes clarifying them, sometimes distorting them, can be attended to.

    This passage reminds me of where that can lead:

    Such times abide for a pilgrim, who all through
    a story or a life may live in grace, that blind
    benevolent side of even the fiercest world,
    and might – even in oppression or neglect –
    not care if it’s friend or enemy, caught up
    in a dance where no one feels need or fear.

  2. Writing June 4, clearing emails, many of which I flagged but never read!!! THANKS so much for this. Thanks for sharing William Stafford, taking a prisoner’s point of view. YES, some days I do feel imprisoned and I know I’m holding the keys… Blessings on you for this continued turning toward the Light.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s