Thursday, October 7, 2010

woof and meow

Sometimes, I think, the good-hearted and well-intentioned spirit is saddened by its inattention to the rest of the world ... the children starving, the dictators dictating, the wars (Afghanistan is 9 years old today) that never seem to produce much outside the next war ... the calamities of the world overlooked while I was going to the supermarket.

It's something to contend with, I'd say: Turning a socially blind eye to things won't do and trying to keep a socially-open eye is overwhelming and, finally, impossible. Like walking into an animal shelter, the requests for attention are all around and each cat or dog has a face that is somehow more deserving than the last ... it's almost impossible not to take one of these prisoners home. They are caged and at the mercy of those who claim dominion ... and they're going to be put to death.

But I can't take them all -- all the cats and dogs and war and starvation and political skulduggery and suffering and imagined-suffering.  I can't be indifferent and I can't solve the problem. Of course, I can white-whine about it and elevate my own excuses and understanding among those who are similarly flummoxed, but still, damage or death insists and reduces tender-heartedness to a foolishness ... a foolishness that persists and persists and deserves some resolution.

Spiritual endeavor points, perhaps, but without investigating what it points to, the whole exercise is reduced to comfortable niceties: "God knows what s/he's doing ... let us pray." It's not enough in the face of all the meowing and barking: Salving my conscience doesn't change the scene. It just saves my ass ... for a little while.

The only resort I can think of, the only effort that stands a chance, is to pay attention and take responsibility. Everything else, every other credulous effort, runs into a brick wall -- the peace placebo instead of the peace. It's not a comfortable effort because paying attention and taking responsibility is personal. No one can hold your hand. There is nothing to rely on. No holiness works where attention and responsibility are brought to bear.

Woof and meow. It breaks your heart. And yet without a broken heart, how can any of us expect to find a peace that is worthy of the name? Patience, courage, doubt ... and a broken heart, over and over again. It sounds pretty gloomy from the outside, but what other choice is there for the tender-hearted and the hopeful and the determined?

Going to the supermarket ... is it an escape-from or an escape-to?

I don't know, but I do need milk.

1 comment: