In Memorial

“Sorrow everywhere. Slaughter everywhere. If babies
are not starving someplace, they are starving
somewhere else. With flies in their nostrils.

But we enjoy our lives because that’s what God wants.
Otherwise the mornings before summer dawn would not
be made so fine. The Bengal tiger would not
be fashioned so miraculously well. The poor women
at the fountain are laughing together between
the suffering they have known and the awfulness
in their future, smiling and laughing while somebody
in the village is very sick. There is laughter
every day in the terrible streets of Calcutta,
and the women laugh in the cages of Bombay.
If we deny our happiness, resist our satisfaction,
we lessen the importance of their deprivation.
We must risk delight. We can do without pleasure,
but not delight. Not enjoyment. We must have
the stubbornness to accept our gladness in the ruthless
furnace of this world. To make injustice the only
measure of our attention is to praise the Devil.
If the locomotive of the Lord runs us down,
we should give thanks that the end had magnitude.
We must admit there will be music despite everything.
We stand at the prow again of a small ship
anchored late at night in the tiny port
looking over to the sleeping island: the waterfront
is three shuttered cafés and one naked light burning.
To hear the faint sound of oars in the silence as a rowboat
comes slowly out and then goes back is truly worth
all the years of sorrow that are to come.”

– from Jack Gilbert’s book “Refusing Heaven
The news of the slaughter of children yesterday left me with such heavy heart, the only thing I could do was weep and wail. I held it in and made the mistake of bending over to get something and the involuntary spill commenced. Later that evening I was laughing with my own children, enjoying the movie, The Hobbit. And I went to bed with heavy heart. The week has been one of tremendous loss in general for me but we do find the laughter, regardless. The one thing I cannot abide though, the one thing I won’t stomach is the pandering of “God in the schools” as the solution for violence. God is everywhere always within us. God doesn’t stop the violence. We must face it in our own hearts and minds. We must dirty the hands of our hearts and wield our own strength to face why it is we’re still content with preventable tragedy.
Peace y’all…

(Quote found via the perpetually brilliant Rob Brezsny and his Facebook page.)

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2 thoughts on “In Memorial

  1. Thanks Ruth. I have had 3 futile attempts to share a thought about this tragedy and the words just would not flow. I have a goal to get something knocked together tonight. We will see if the winner is slumber or words.

    Your post is comforting as it juxtaposes the tears and the laughter. After all, that is life: a bunch of normal with slices of tragedy and joy.

    1. Sometimes the tragedy eclipses the joy…and sometimes the joy eclipses the tragedy. It’s a difficult season, especially now. And the grief is right there. Right alongside the joy I experience with my children and closest friends. This heartpour from Jack Gilbert says it all. These are times we’re reminded that life and love requires courage. Thanks for sharing Harold.

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