In Our Hearts

Thursday already. A free week flying by – though in a witch on a broom kind of way despite the sunshine. I wake up every morning and wonder if I should check the news first thing. Before writing, before coffee, before anything else. And I do. And I am left with the same exact uncomfortable anticipation.

Wanting, hoping… that is not the same as anticipation. There’s a horrible, unspeakable desire for it to be “over” before it gets worse. It is what I want. But not what I anticipate will happen.

I was wondering when my social media feeds would return to normal and am disappointed to see how quickly they are. Sort of. And I am only sort of disappointed. I mean, this really isn’t something that will be solved or “over” quickly, and the days go on as they do where we are – yes, with a shadow over them – but there is still dinner to cook, and evenings to be filled with something other than a meditation on pain.

This whole thing makes me wish I were one to give blessings before dinner. I suddenly understand the whole purpose of such a beautiful ritual. I never imagined that “the starving children in China” blessings had any potential to be anything more than racist, guilt-inducing tactics to make children in privileged countries eat vegetables.

Only now am I understanding that gratitude can be disconnected from guilt. This is how we can experience the small, but significant moments of joy.

This disconnection (guilt from gratitude) is probably the only way that gratitude can ease the pain of living. And dying.

It’s not a new question: How much do we take on ourselves in terms of the world’s pain? In solidarity? In community? How much do we do so in self-preservation – out of fear – as performance – as opportunists?

How much of today’s private moments of ease do we turn our backs on in deference to future and potential troubles? How do we honor and acknowledge the suffering of so many, while authentically acknowledging our own ignorance, avoiding masquerading/appropriation… How do we unashamedly focus on gratitude rather than guilt?

Computer language is binary, but the real world isn’t either/or.

What can we hold in our arms? “This, too.”

“And also…”

Under one arm are my private sorrows: my own struggles and the pain belonging to people I love (and am losing right now). Under the other, the knowledge I have of all of the people who are (violently) losing their loved ones or facing the (violent) loss of their own lives.

Exactly how do we carry the joy?

I have never been an occasional poet.

I think that’s because at some point I realized that my best writing comes from the body.

Writing is difficult right now.

One Reply to “In Our Hearts”

  1. Part of me consciously tries not to reference the war, the wars, because I feel like I’m just passing amateur comments on something I don’t understand, that my desire for it to be over and for Ukraine to be a free country is an almost sentimental uninformed wish, that I don’t have enough expertise to comment on or even feel the situation. But then again, it’s right there in my face, isn’t it? Just like evil is in our faces all the time, and we can only ward it off with gratitude for the small goodnesses and kindnesses in our lives. And there’s the feeling in me that Aggie will drift from being Polish to being Ukrainian.


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