The whole world is in mourning.
When the recent tragedy in Orlando brings on grief, it also triggers the grief of all those who are still mourning the innocent victims of San Bernardino, that church in South Carolina, that airport in Belgium, or the elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut.
If you have lost someone, you know this: grief isn’t linear, it isn’t constrained by time and it doesn’t exist on a calendar. It is an ocean that drowns us in its waves just when we think the tide has finally gone out.
Do the math. How many people are grieving for how many people? Consider the carnage of the Middle East alone, our soldiers who were there, and the migrants who are left homeless from war.
Soon enough there may be more people trying not to drown in their grief than there are those of us on boats reaching out to help them. All you have to do is look around you. Isn’t there somebody on your block, at your office, in your church, in that restaurant you had dinner in last night, who has been touched in some way by loss, by death, by grief? How about you—is it you?
The whole world is in mourning and its heart is breaking.
Here are five quotes that have helped me to maintain hope and deal with the heart break.
1. Love your Life:
“Love your life. Perfect your life. Beautify all things in your life. Seek to make your life long and its purpose in the service of your people. Always give a word or a sign of salute when meeting or passing a friend, even a stranger when in a lonely place. Show respect to all people and bow to none. When you arise in the morning, give thanks for the food and for the joy of living. If you see no reason for giving thanks, the fault lies only in yourself. Abuse no one and nothing, for abuse turns the wise ones to fools and robs the Spirit of its Vision.” ~ Prayer of Tecumseh, Shawnee Native American Chief
2. Continue to Make Positive Effort:
“…At the same time a bomb is being dropped a rose is opening. Make positive effort, even if it’s just getting out of bed and brushing your teeth. Continue under all circumstances, and don’t be tossed away.” ~ Natalie Goldberg
3. Find a Group of Like-Minded Others:
“Some of us are called to bear witness and sometimes that witnessing is very hard to endure. It’s painful and makes us ache. Remember…that bearing witness also means to ‘take forth,’ and that can be done by sharing with others so that we are not holding it alone.” ~ Allan Senauke
4. Be Patient:
“We are always in transition. Patience is what gets us through. Suffering is Part of Life. All Phenomenon is merely pleasant or unpleasant. Blamelessness frees us to heal faster and a meditation practice comes in handy. ~ Alan Lokos
5. Take Every Minute One at a Time:
“Accept and rise to whatever circumstance presents itself. Be in it full tilt. Summon your courage, your true grit…Don’t let negative edges of despair creep in. Allowing flecks of negativity leads to a Pandora’s box syndrome. You can’t stop the doubts once you consent to let them seep into your tired, weakened brain. You must set your will. Set it now. Let nothing penetrate or cripple it.” ~ Diana Nyad, Find a Way
And finally, what may be one of my personal favorites, a bonus quote from artist Lynette Pradiga:
“In order to remain helpful, we must all strive for neutrality—outrage is so f**king easy—but to remain neutral and observe and have compassion for the ugly and despicable human condition…that is the only way that any of us can help. Conflict is easy, judgment is easy. Rage is easy….unity and neutrality are something that must be practiced and re-practiced and is a key ingredient for these horrendous dehumanizing situations to resolve.”
Author: Carmelene Siani
Image: Bianca Dagheti/Flickr
Editor: Catherine Monkman; Travis May