Approx. read time: 3:00 min
This morning, riding up the McKenzie River corridor, I look out the window at the fast-passing scenery.
All I see is a wash of every imaginable shade of green. Lush green, with the river running fast, and pretty high, alongside the two-lane highway.
I sense my self beginning to relax into this day off, my weekly day of renewal in Creation.
I notice, now, that threads of thought suppressed in the busyness of the workweek begin to surface.
And a simple, honest phrase comes to me: I do not feel at ease in this world.
Do I feel at home? Yes. But not at ease.
In my childhood and teen years, I always felt “at home,” secure in knowing that this is where I belong. But I did not always feel “at ease.”
My adult unease, in these times, I sense, is an interior response to the massive, relentless waves of violence—violation of another, of others, of Creation itself—everywhere, everywhere.
Recently it was the broad-daylight assassination of Shinzo Abe, former prime minister of Japan.
Our nation, too, reels and grieves the rolling waves of mass shootings, especially those involving children, their bodies so shredded that one schoolgirl is identified only by her bright green sneakers.
Violence today seems outsized, unleashed and seemingly inexhaustible, a hideous raging beast poised to crush everything in its path that is weak and vulnerable.
So I think, now, of the link between violence and injustice. And I do a little research.
The word violent means to act with great physical, verbal, or emotional force so as to injure, damage, or destroy; to act unlawfully or callously, uncontrollably.
The word violate, very close in sound, means to desecrate or profane; to mistreat, abuse, or go beyond the bounds of what is acceptable: to override, crush, or even erase the humanity of a person, the inviolable sacredness of the other, of others, of Creation itself. All, expressions of injustice.
Injustice is the violation of the rights of another, others, Creation itself. Injustice can be addressed legally in the courts, and more broadly through legislation.
But the roots of injustice run deep, and cry out for a painful, deep-reaching transformation of attitude and heart of the perpetrator—or collectively, of a society’s broken will and broken systems.
All of which means that you and I live in a world too wounded to feel at ease with itself.
The entire human family—all of us, both human-kind and human-unkind—inherit and carry forward the burden of woundedness, named and unnamed sorrow, expressed and buried grief.
To be honest: Our world is drenched in trauma, too numb and exhausted to heal itself.
In the daytime I dance the awkward dance of not-at-ease, trying to be present while knowing that my heart is somewhere else.
But at night, as the last traces of light disappear, and quiet settles in, I light my oil lamp, and lift up “all those who will die this night and in the coming day, whose lives and circumstances are known to You alone, especially those whose who will die through any, any form of violence.”
I pause, imagine, invoke the tender mercies of serene Light, Compassion, and Peace.
And I whisper: Amen.
What spiritual practices enable you to live, a little more at ease, in this wounded and anxious world?
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Be well. Live in peace. Love one another.