I keep drilling down, trying to figure out what remains genuine, looking for what counts, looking for the foundation stones of an elemental goodness that I want to believe still unites us.
It is a messy, ugly time in the world. So much seems rotten. Dominated by celebrity trivia and an apocalyptic, comic book sensibility, the global media further embraces stupidity. Corporate elites give the impression that they would like to reestablish on American soil a feudal society of peasants and aristocrats, and our national politicians are so estranged from normal human beings that they seem like alien life forms. Sectarian tyranny, hatred and murder flows out of the east like a blood stained river.
Most people I know are making a go of it hunkered inside their lives and families. That is where I see the twinned qualities of tenderness and worry – that combination of feeling for someone or something outside of the individual.
We worry about those who have woven themselves deep into our lives – mothers, fathers, sons and daughters, wives and husbands, brothers, sisters and good friends. Worry is an apprehension for their safety and for their well-being. If the apprehension is severe, we try to believe that the burden we have assigned ourselves might keep them safe, as if our distress for them will create a kind of divine sanction around them, a zone where they will be preserved from harm ‘in all the empty spaces where they must walk’,* all those places where we cannot stand like an archangel between them and injury.
When has worry not been aligned with tenderness, that strong affection that requires endearments and touch? We reach out to embrace, to pull close, to share our heat and strength and whatever fortitude we can muster. We reach out to measure health, to feel the muscle beneath the skin, to ascertain whether the one we love is thin as a bird or robust. We reach out to give our strength to others, to transfer our vigor and life-force to them. We think to ourselves, this person in front of me or this person far away, he is mine to protect, she is mine to shelter. I have a responsibility. My bond with them is indissoluble.
A story to follow in the next Post and this chronicle of twin brothers led me to think about how we take others’ lives onto our shoulders. Please click on this:http://www.npr.org/blogs/pictureshow/2013/12/10/248544894/brotherhood-pictures-and-life-with-cerebral-palsy, Chris Capozziello’s account of his relationship with his brother, Nick. Please, listen to his voice and to Nick’s voice. Look at his photographs. See if you too are not moved to think of all those you strive to shield.
*an old Egyptian blessing