This is one of those strange mornings. The kind of morning where you awake and things feel just a little surreal. I think it is how I went to bed last night. I was brushing my teeth and suddenly it was as if the suffering and sadness of many people were a cloud behind me. I know why: first because I was watching the news and saw the piece about those children who were accused of being witches and were being horribly abused (It was on ABC news last night). I wanted to jump in the screen and kick ass - that's what I said to GMR: "Let me in that screen so I can kick some ass!" I ground my teeth. Then I said to the reporter standing there talking to the man responsible for it, "Kick his ass! Come on....do it!" You could tell he wanted to, how he was restraining himself, standing there in his almost-crisp white shirt, his handsome face pulled in upon itself, his brows meeting in the middle. Of course, that is not what happened and would happen. If it were here in the States, the authorities would be called in (we hope) and those children would be taken away - to where? To safety we'd all hope and assume; though sometimes even a perfect world is not perfect at all. I knew I shouldn't have watched that segment, though. But I felt somehow as if I should; as if I shouldn't always shield myself from the ways of the world outside my beautiful cove. But, I also know my powers of empathy are very strong - strong enough to cause that cloud of emotion and people, children, to press against my back.
I made it worse by watching the movie "Seven Pounds..." with Wil Smith. I told Good Man Roger: "That looks like an uplifting movie!" Well, maybe the message was supposed to be uplifting, but instead it was depressing to me. Yes, there came some "good" from it, but, there also was suffering and sadness and the movie felt too heavy instead of "uplifting." After the movie, that is when I went to ready myself for bed, exhausted at my empathy cloud around me. Faces, feelings, pressing. And I brushed my teeth and tried not to let the cloud press too hard or surround me too much.
In bed, I opened a new book I was going to read: Anna Quindlen's "One True Thing...." Oh crud. It's about cancer and death...I could almost laugh at that! What timing! Lawdy be!
So, this morning I awoke feeling a bit surreal, as I will do when I feel those empathy clouds surround me. I wake to a beautiful morning on the mountain, in my cove at Killian Knob. The creek singing, birds calling, squirrels chattering, tourists here for Memorial Day waking and making their sounds--not unpleasant, the canopy of the greening trees, a soft rain falling, the ridgetops reaching, the distant mountains ancient -- all this superimposed over the sights and sounds of last night.
Soon, I'll settle in to work on VK2 and I will center myself again, but last night I thought "how are you affecting change with your work and life?" I thought, "there you go, worrying about sales and amazon and B&N and indie booksellers and rankings and blah blah blah - you you you me me me me, when there are those children's eyes haunting...." And I know that really this is just How It Is. Oh Dear. Did I say that? That is just How It Is? I know that I'll get back to work and do what I do. I know that I'll hope in some small way I contribute something to someone somewhere. That is just How It Is.
Do you ever wonder if you'd be brave if bravery was called for? I do. I wonder that. Would I enter a burning building even though I have an obsessive fear of fire. Would I save someone from drowning even though I can't swim. Would I intervene in some way that would cause grave danger for me but with the possibility it would save another human life? My answer is, how could I know; I only hope I'd be brave. I can think back to times I've done things out of a sense of "bravery" - so maybe that is my hint, but then I think of times I've done nothing because those things seem too far away or too hard or too scary to think about.
What about you? Do you ever wonder if you could be brave? Do you ever feel the empathy cloud and want to ignore it, and that seems a most un-brave thing to do? Do you sometimes just have to think, "It's all to much - there is too much and I can't take it all in... it is How It Is."
It is suddenly very quiet outside - and the beauty here is evident. I feel very lucky. Safe. Loved. Needed. Wanted. The world turns and turns and turns. We all think of death as being Special, but if you think of the world in terms of how long it has been here and the millions of humans who have gone before us, well, really, there is a comfort in that. For it is a Natural Thing....death is not special. It is not its own special entity in black garb and sycle with a skeletal hand. It is as part of nature as those trees out there, as the birds and squirrels. We come we go and that is how it is supposed to be. There is a beauty in it, but we can't see that from close up, only from a distance that is too hard for us to grasp....only if we look at it from far far away, only if we look at it when it doesn't touch us, come near us....but we come, we go we come we go we come we go....I find a comfort in that because that is the way I have to find comfort in those kinds of things; in those truths.
Oh!~ such heavy thoughts for a lovely serene Saturday morning! I had to get that out, though, as writing things down is how I deal with my thoughts. Writing things down is what I do. This is what I do, who I am. I suppose I could affect/effect some global change by my writing, but then that is not what I do. I write what I write. I hope it somehow touches you.
What do you do to deal with the empathy cloud that can come upon you?
(image google images: http://fc04.deviantart.com/fs24/f/2007/325/0/5/Far_Away_by_sad_face.jpg)