It was an endless debate between by grandparents and I when I was growing up. I was the one always bringing wounded things home, always volunteering, always standing up for others, always behind a cause . . . my grandmother tried to “shush” me so many times that I think she suffered with lack of spit for years.
The community tried to shush me.
People don’t like their lives interrupted with someone banging pots together and insisting they look at something horrific. People don’t like seeing horrific things because it makes them feel uncomfortable. Most of them blame the person banging the pots for their discomfort. The only source of their discomfort comes from their own duality – the part of them that sees something wrong, feels for the “victims” and knows that they should do something – and the part of them that sees something wrong and worries about themselves and how getting involved might negatively impact their own comfort. People tend to not involve themselves in trouble until they are in trouble themselves.
I don’t “regret” the things I have done because I have learned to allow pain to be a teacher. I am not under any illusion that I am perfect so I am not threatened or diminished by the mistakes I have made. I do however, know I will deeply regret the things I knew I should have done and did not. That goes for fabulous fun things AND standing up.
I have a privileged life. I have health, and a strong body, and a great mind. I have gifts and talents. Who am I to sit back satisfied and ignore the world around me as if I am somehow more special, more deserving than the next person?
When I got older I would defend my involvement to my grandmother and tell her the things that were going on. She would pat my hand and say, “I know that someone has to do something, but does it always have to be you?”
Yes, grandma, it does.
It does because I cannot look myself in the mirror every morning and justify my happiness and peace of mind over other people’s. Sometimes I don’t know how much what I do matters, I often have to pick and choose between things that are going on, but when I feel compelled, I have to honour that urge. People tell me all the time, “I don’t want to get involved.” and I am disappointed in them, that they see themselves as so separated from the suffering of others that they walk away. I want to yell at these people as they walk into their churches and their fancy houses, and drive off to their big jobs . . . what good is having power, money, a connection with a God of Love if none of that has changed your heart or guided your actions to be a better human being? How does what car you drive, or how much you paid for it, impact ANYONE on any real or lasting level?
When we leave this world we will all leave without a single physical thing we accumulated. We leave without the body that we used, abused, bragged about, neglected, felt inferior or superior to others with. We are all just people. Some will feel very connected to the others on both side of the veil because love is really all there is in the end. When there is no other measurement left, except the content of our own hearts, where will you stand?
So yes, I see the people around me and I am connected to them and I will stand when they cannot, and I will speak when they have no voice, and I will call things what they are and say out loud that something is a lie, or wrong, or even evil.
And I will not be “shushed.”
I will not fail at life.
I will measure my success in the connections I build with others and the only way to truly love others is to serve them, to do so without condition and to cease to see any separation between the humanity that binds us all as our spirits journey this physical life we share.