Bearing the Unbearable
When you bear witness to someone bearing the unbearable
you recognize that a part of that person has died
the part that couldn’t bear the unbearable.
The person who remains alive is the survivor,
the one willing to include the insufferable as part of her life.
If you ask her if she is happy,
she may consider the question,
and reply Yes
You may ask her if she is sad
and after a moment
she will answer Yes
If you wonder whether she is hopeful
she will respond affirmatively
When you inquire whether she feels hopeless
well, she feels that too.
Everything is embraced by the survivor
All of Life
The astounding, exhilarating beauty
as well as the horrific, heartbreaking injustice
the immense love,
and the deep cruelty
The magnificent mystery of the universe
includes multifarious criminal imperfections
The survivor stands in the presence of what is true
Without dying, without closing off to the whole truth.
If her heart closes she becomes a crippled instrument
for the healing of the world.
There is nothing we can say to assuage the anguish
of those who are tolerating the intolerable.
We can only stand with them, together, as survivors ourselves.
For we are all survivors.
Or we’d be dead. In body. Or in heart.
It is our own suffering, of whatever type,
that turns us into instruments of compassion.
We can stand together as survivors, in love
We can stand together in the presence of what is true,
in awe of the bafflingly thick rich wondrous entirety of phenomenon
We can keep our hearts open in heaven, and in hell,
and allow our hearts to break over and over again.
The cost of armoring our hearts is too great
so we do what we can to relieve suffering,
our suffering, any suffering, all suffering.
An open heart and a clear quiet mind are optimum agents
for cultivating the health and unity of the whole.
We are all part of the same organism, so we can have no enemies.
It is the nature of our beings as individuals
that contributes to and creates the quality of our world
Each breath each of us take affirms the dignity of life, all life,
in the simplest and clearest way possible.
With each breath we can strive for clarity of mind
and share it constructively with each other.
With each breath we can extend our compassion
to all survivors bearing the unbearable.