Note: this piece is a follow up/expansion of the blog entry You Open Your Door and You Lose Your Life
We are all stories…
Yes, prisms for the light…
I do not have a magic formula for how to help us to not be afraid. What I know through experience is that I am unwilling to exchange love for something easier or less nuanced.
If I am to live a life of love, I need to feel free to live with my own fullness, the spectrum of my story. It isn’t all any one thing…not all beauty, not all terrible; not entirely success, not entirely stumble. I have shared sentences, paragraphs, and plot lines for each of these chapters with people who have knocked at my door at different moments. Some people have gone running. Some have stayed, waiting with me until sunrise; stayed with me to witness to my decision—loss or salvation?; stayed with me as I acknowledge my desire for light and learned which way to turn to find it when my feet were planted on the ground of what is real in the moment.
Never has that generosity or that love of another been more important to me than when the ground that is real is a ground that trembles, a ground that is unstable, uncertain, even treacherous. As another friend put it, these are the moments of How limited our knowledge; how necessary our choices. Which way to step through the threshold…toward the unknown that lies beyond the thin horizon of light peeking beneath my door or further into the musty smallness of predictable and known? Freedom or confinement? Either is possible and both come with costs. The outcome remains ambiguous, until the choice is made.
I could have chosen to close the door, to not acknowledge fears and difficulties with others because it would mean being vulnerable, possibly unprotected. But learning to live with the spectrum of my story has helped me when I have been the one keeping vigil for someone else… I am remembering in particular when it was someone I had known my whole life…when I knew that ultimately they themselves might choose to cross their threshold, slam the door, and close themselves in with demons and decisions of their own making. And they did. Witnessing that was one of the most difficult things I can imagine ever doing. I was able to stay because I knew the both/and in me and my own choice for light.
There are things that doors keep out…there are things that doors keep in. Some are beautiful; some are terrible.
Continuing to choose light asked things of me that I never imagined I could or would be doing. Never have I been more grounded in what is Real and never have I been more aware of the numbers of people listening for my knock from the inside, ready to fling open the door and flood the terrain I was crossing with currents of light, than when the prayer mantra on my lips was Please, I can not do this alone. I need help to hold this.
The families, friends, and colleagues, of the now 22(+?) victims from this past weekend’s rampage will choose which way to cross through as they navigate the terrain of grief, anger, and loss. The families, friends, and colleagues of the shooter will too as they bear the breadth and depth of what someone they know has done.
It is my hope and prayer that all of those affected by the choices of one man will have people that keep vigil with them as they encounter the topography of what is now Real; People that will wait; people that will sing reminders of light in the throes of nightmares and will wait; people that will listen in love to the stories and help each other learn how to hold all that is True, exposing the fullness to the company of the living, to the sun of a new day rising, to the feel of fresh air on raw wound and scar and fear.
Given our choices, though it be a difficult honour, let us choose the solidarity of love, and stand together in this new place.