Thursday, May 31, 2012

...pass the peace, pt 2: shift happens

There was a funeral
two thousand years ago
that we never forget

It ended with an explosion
of ascendant life.

from Trail of Hope by Charles Van Gorkum

A female mate was hit by a car as she swooped low across the road, and the
condition was soon fatal.

Her mate brought her food and attended her with love and compassion.
He brought her food again, but was shocked to find her dead.
He tried to move her, a rarely seen effort.

Aware that his mate was dead and would never come back to him again,
he cried with adoring love
...and stood beside her with sadness and sorrow.

From the email I received:
The photographer sold these pictures for a nominal fee
to the most famous newspaper in France.
All copies of that edition were sold out on the day
these pictures were published.

A decade ago, when I was told by the 911 operator to get out of my house immediately - out into very unfriendly elements - I had no idea what had just happened. Only that my basement was filling up with swirling, thick, muddy water. When she said "Get out NOW", I wondered what I had ever done to this person on the other end of the line that she would send me out into a raging storm. By the time I ran through the heavy downpour and cloud-to-ground lightning to my car, the firemen had arrived. They yelled for me to get up my driveway NOW. There was that word again. I was up and out in a flash but, during that short drive, time ceased to exist for me. How surreal to pass the corner of the house and see light where none should be.The song, "His Eye is on the Sparrow", began to play in my mind and calm settled over me. In that moment, nothing, not even death, held sway over me. Later I would hyperventilate again. But not in that pre-dawn flight from disaster. 

I've thought about my short drive many times in the intervening years. That morning was the culmination of a year that began with the events of 9/11. I met with hospice three hours after the attack and my mother died three days later. Nine months later, my husband died. Three months after that, the house collapsed. I recall watching the endless coverage in the days following 9/11 and asking, "Will war solve anything?" An enemy who wanted nothing from us except our extinction had spoken. An enemy who can, if not through physical attack but by sheer numbers at the polls, overwhelm. I still ask that question. Having been stripped of control, vulnerable...I learned that powerlessness doesn't kill.

Those in power, beware: shift happens. Kings and kingdoms shall all pass away. And so shall I...every fallible cell of me will cease to function one day. Could be today. I don't know. No guarantees. But ascendent life exploded after a funeral two thousand years ago. And that life calls me to love my neighbors as I love myself: "NOW". That word again. Whatever happens along the way, I have countless choices,  a multitude of chances, to do the next right thing. I have missed too many. Note to self: Celeste, you are made in the image of radical love...keep your eyes on the sparrows. Even the pesky ones. And leave some decent ripples.


GretchenJoanna said...

I hadn't seen these photos before -- they are quite striking. Your post reminds me of the scripture that tells us to comfort one another with the comfort by which we have been comforted. You have been through a lot, and I'm sure that people who are hurting can feel that you know how it is, and receive His Love from you. God bless you, Celeste!

Celeste said...

We pass it forward and leave the results to God. Blessings, love and light to you, GretchenJoanna!