They say that every baby cries when it hears the cries of another child. I was born crying. I have always wept for others, even those who are not crying. I hear their inner cries. I see their tears, even when their faces are frozen in perfect smiles and they are repeating the mantra, they were given with the promise if they just believe it enough, they have the power to make it happen . . . “I am fine.”
Except they aren’t.
And some things cannot be wished away or overcome with pretty words meant to hide the dirt they are being spoken over.
We understand when someone has a car accident and loses their limb that it is a forever deal. We accept physical damage. If you are going to drive a car after you drink, you could have an accident, and if you have an accident you could cause damage to your body or another’s. Sometimes that damage is permanent and nobody would stand and tell you that if you put a picture of a healthy arm on the fridge, and repeat “My arm is healthy, perfect, and functioning now,” 21 times each day . . . you will be rewarded with a new arm.
If they did, we would call them insane.
The physical plane is pretty much accepted as being one of the lesser planes. It is much denser and limiting than the others. If we can damage it, why can we not understand that the damage we can effect on the much higher spiritual plane would be even more devastating?
Child abuse, sexual abuse, coercion, murder, violence . . . these things damage our souls in ways more devastating than losing a limb on a physical plane. Just because we cannot see the visual evidence of the damage, does not mean it doesn’t exist. When a limb is lost the person learns to use the other hand. They adapt. Sometimes amputees are fitted with an artificial hand and they have to spend hours in rehabilitative training. The process of moving on takes time and work but it begins with everyone acknowledging that the damage and the loss. No-one pretends that there is nothing wrong or that the damage was not that big of a deal. Even though the person figures out how to write, to feed themselves, to do everything they need to do in life, no-one suggests they should just “forget about it” and “move on.” People get that the loss of the limb is something they will carry with them for the rest of their life.
People with soul injuries also need to have their damage seen and acknowledged. They need to find ways to cope. Coping does not mean it goes away and is no longer a problem, coping means you learn ways to deal with the pain and the loss. The person who lost their arm in their drunk driving accident can ask Jesus to forgive them. They can be blessed by the Pope or some other religious figure. Those things might be comforting and help the journey for the person but they are not going to mean that the arm will grow back. Spiritual damage is even more complicated and so, no, just because a paedophile has been caught and sent to jail, and 20 years have passed, does not mean that the person’s spirit has recovered their innocence or the part of them that the acts damaged or severed. It doesn’t make it “over.” Forgiving the person does not make it all better. Soul damage creates a life-long impact, no different than an amputation. It is real.
So I hear THOSE cries and I cry too. And I try to find a way to reach out to them, to connect, to let them know that I see them. I sit with them in that moment we might have. I acknowledge their pain and their suffering, sometimes without a single word exchanged on the subject. I don’t always know what to do or even what they need, but I have learned that if I am open, if I allow the compassion I feel to flow, the universe finds a way to use that gift for that person. I don’t have to know everything. I just have to show up.
People keeps asking or talking about what we can do. They talk about dreams of heading off to some third world country to help people in obvious need. It is wonderful that some people can actually do that, but for most of us, it is an easy out. Maybe without even realizing it, it has become yet another phrase we slip into conversations that is just safe. It lets people know we care, we would help if we could . . . but it is a statement that is going to let us off the hook because it is an “if/then.” We will help if we ever get the opportunity to go to a third world country.
How do we know that? Because we are not saving for it, planning for it, or doing a single thing to make it happen. What we really mean, is if someone ever drops that opportunity in our lap, as in, “Hey would you mind going to this country and taking all these supplies and setting up a foundation to help the starving sick children with the millions I have spent my lifetime working for and raising, sacrificing every moment of my life?” And why would anyone choose us when we are not involved in anything in our own communities to reach out, to speak out, to help others? Opportunities of any kind come to people who are already in the mud, sleeves rolled up, working hard to make a difference. They don’t drop in the lap of someone playing golf or sitting watching the football game on a Saturday afternoon.
There is no “if/then,” to life. There is only do. Do it now with the people around you. If you can’t see anyone around you in need, then you need to wake up and open your eyes. Remind yourself how to see and feel. Turn off the television, put down the cell phone, forget about taking pictures of you being awesome and LOOK at the people around you. There won’t be any viral video or a clip on the news about what a great person you are because you called your brother, visited your mom, helped your neighbour build a fence, slipped a struggling family a money order in their mailbox, sat with an elderly man in the park and shared an ice cream. There won’t. But this world will thank you. It will thank you by taking that movement and every other effort you make and rippling it through the waters that wash over us all, filling the air with its sweet perfume so that we all breathe it in and out of our beings. It will wash us and cleanse us, fill our lungs, pump our hearts full of hope, and call to others to do the same. It will create movement.
The lie is that it takes millions to make change. That it takes force. That it takes money. That it even takes a village.
It takes one.
It takes just you.