THE WEATHER, THE HOURS, THE DAYS
I have had some time to love and lament this unusually warm winter we’re having here at home. Sun, sandals and smiles, what’s not to love? But I lament it because there is overwhelming credible scientific evidence that we are facing a human-induced warming that requires all hands on deck and yet many of us are too happy to care when the berries are good and plenty.
In the past few weeks, I have missed the Super Bowl, the Grammys and the Oscars as the TV stays tucked in the most inaccessible corner of my home and the viewing hours have turned from time-suck to reward. Somehow, I still managed to glimpse Meryl Streep’s gracious acceptance speech without trying.
I have had to get reacquainted with the oh-so-tricky terrain of parenting where actions and words sometimes diverge, thus, creating double standards that husband has had a history of forgiving but son, unfortunately, has not. He, too, will learn, though I hope more of the forgiving than the double standards.
THE MOMENTS, THE VOICES, THE LIGHT
Four weeks have gone by. Life goes on.
And yet as I find a quiet moment throughout my days, I hear the joyous, ululating sounds of the Congolese women’s voices in my head as though it were yesterday. I picture those remarkable women dancing, singing, celebrating life, and I’m instantly lifted by their staggering resilience. They are out there, walking miles of unpaved road, embracing moments of warmth, laughter and grace. They are living evidence that the human spirit can thrive even after evil has ravaged it.
There is much room for light in the Congo — a place where the moon and stars are often the only sources of light at night. As I write this, I realize that those who have not experienced Congo may be overwhelmed by the dark. Some have given up. They ought to look up. Congo’s light, though faint, is not the artificial kind. It holds promise to burn brighter.
If appealing to the best of humanity is too lofty a goal, then perhaps a more pragmatic, economic reason is more amenable: Congo’s total mineral wealth is reportedly estimated at $24 trillion. At the very least, might the rest of the world stand to gain something by helping to get Congo’s economy moving?
THE DOUBTS, THE QUESTIONS, THE FEARS
Congo and climate matters are camping out in my head. Both have a way of drawing you in once you begin to pay attention. But it almost doesn’t matter what cause we choose to advocate for. The questions and doubts swirl regardless of predilection. How much impact can one person make? What does it matter if I do or don’t participate? Isn’t someone more qualified already working on that? Does it really matter that I’ve stopped drinking bottled water? Why should I care about others so far away when I’ve got enough to keep me busy right here? Is all this questioning futile? Don’t all these doubts confirm anything?
I continue to struggle with how to share my Congo stories, gauging that fine line between enough and too much. How do I do justice to a story without it getting lumped in with the “trouble with Africa” pile? Is there a way to share an experience truthfully, unedited, and have the listener walk away feeling inspired to do something instead of depressed? I can only hope that what I share will lead to an opening, not a closing, of a mind and heart. What happens next, no one can control.
TRUST YOUR JOURNEY
I reconnected with a friend recently and he told me how these three words, gleaned from spiritual teachers, have helped him through his struggles. Trusting the unknown can be hard. And while we may be confident in our ability to trust the self, trusting others is a far more unwieldy notion.
But when we trust our individual journey, we remove the weight and undue limits of expectation, judgment and prediction. We proceed based on intuition or whatever it may be that compels us on our journey. We stop comparing ourselves with others and begin to find our groove. We learn to embody grace with each step. Some may take notice and follow.
Our journeys are unique but there are some things we can count on. There will be highs and lows. There will be roadblocks, potholes and forks. There may even be detours along a non-scenic route. But when we trust our journey, maybe, we find our way home.
How do the questions and doubts figure into the process of trusting your journey? Do they detract from or enhance the journey?