In the face of tragedy, we hold tight to what matters most to us. Our husbands. Our children. Our loved ones. Our own lives. We don’t want to die. We want to live. We hunker down, reign in, and want to hold on to everything that we have. We are attached to it all. And are pained at the idea of losing any of it. Or of others losing it, too.
And so we feel fear. Fear at the possibility of losing life. Even while watching a midnight movie.
Tonight at the Brooklyn Cyclones game at Coney Island, they ended with fireworks on the field. The pops of boom and cracks of explosion made me think of the sound in that movie theater. I was reminded that one of the eyewitnesses described the gun shots as sounding like firecrackers. I didn’t enjoy the fireworks as much as I should have. I couldn’t help but glance around to make sure that no one was pulling out a gun to join in on the finale. And I thought, “Oh dear. It’s happening. I am full of fear. I’ve been here before.” (See here for my post about healing from 9/11.)
And so I came home to look up a comment a dear reader once wrote on my blog.
She was talking with a Buddhist monk about death. He told her, “Your relationship will end. One day you’ll die, one day your loved one will die. Maybe something happens and you separate even in life…there is no way out of this. It may happen when you are both old, it could happen today or in two years. You can’t protect yourselves from this. But what you are sure to have is the present moment and all you can do is love him with all your heart, be kind to him, be there for him, care for him and cherish him and your time together, every second, every day. So when the time comes, you won’t have wasted your precious and rare time together.”
I am reminded that fear taints the present moment. It wastes precious time. It clogs the flow of life.
How can we move forward? How can we possibly release some of that fear in the face of such tragic events? I think the only thing powerful enough to dismiss fear is love. Love helps us to do really, really difficult things. So let’s do it out of love for our children. Love for each other. Love for our spouses. Love for our neighbors. Love for strangers. Love for this beautiful life.
Let’s not taint this beautiful life by living in fear. Let’s not waste moments of joy, moments of life that we do have. Because no matter how much fear we have, it will not stop death. It only stops life.
As I write this post, soon after the coolest fireworks display in Coney Island, I am re-committing to filling my lungs and filling my heart and soul with the breath of life. I re-commit to doing it out of love. Love for my husband. Love for the children I do not yet have. Love for the people I am in contact with. Love for all those that come after us. And love for Colorado.
(Image by casimirpulaskiday)