Last Night…This Morning

Subtitle: When compassion makes a new day old.

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dawn

Dawn. The gift of the rotation of the earth’s axis and the world-round, world-renowned signal to arise and engage in the renewal of opportunities. Nevertheless, there are mornings when a new day is too-soon old.

So, it was, so it is this morning.

Last night, I went to bed weary. Not body-weary. Though, yes, for a guy in his latter-sixties, I was physically tired enough. Yet, more, I felt, I was world-weary.

Last night, though it’s not the first time, I fell into bed with a fatigue that ran, drained down to the depths of my soul (that part of my human-beingness, as spiritual, thus, immortal, through which I am intrinsically connected to all time, all people, all things).

world, earth in hands2

Last night, I felt the pressing weight of time, people, and things, too numerous to count, of the incidences, evidences of the ills wrought by natural calamity and human evil. (For the longest time and for whatever reasons, some known to me, most unconscious, thus, not, I have noted that I am more sensitive to shadow than light, more attuned to sorrow and suffering than joy.)

And it is not that I believe that my list of woes is greater or worse that of any other person. For knowing that any one of us at any time can enumerate, in the words of the spiritual, “the troubles I’ve seen,” I do not. Nevertheless, my list is my list.

And if only it was comprised of my daily, personal worries (which, at times, are not insubstantial), that would be enough. But, again, last night and unto this morning, it encompasses, proverbially and literally, the world’s woes.

This multiplication of burden is the fruit of compassion (from the Latin, com-, “with” + passio, suffering; being that ability and willingness to suffer for the sake of another person or circumstance).

There are moments, like this morning, when I, quite familiar, indeed, intimate with the inward workings of my self-interest and my willful selfishness, might wish to devote myself to more cheerful matters. I might wish to divert my attention, to distance myself from any and all ill.

However, that would mean, demand that I become dispassionate. Passionless. A Greek word occurs. Ataraxia. A Stoic-virtue of being free from all disturbing emotions.

As tranquil as this may be, I prefer or, at least, accept my compassion-induced fatigue, which, for me, is a physical indicator and a psychic reminder that I do not and cannot stand apart from the world around me. Rather I am at-one with all creation and at league, hand-in-hand with all people.

Thus, I have learned to live a deeper meaning of one of Jesus’ words of the way life is as God hath created it: “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted” (Matthew 5.4).

5 thoughts on “Last Night…This Morning

  1. Well now this was written especially for me!! Wednesday night I got exactly 3 hrs sleep and had to work all day yesterday, before picking up Kendal for an evening of fun. Several people asked me why I couldn’t sleep. My answer was simple…. too much going on in the world… with people who are close to me and with people I don’t know at all. Cancer recurring, House foreclosing. Caregiving woes….just too much! I was actually happy when my alarm went off so I could stop thinking about the myriad of things wrong in this world. Yesterday I began thinking to myself that all we can do in this world without totally falling into bed more emotionally than physically tired is to focus on making a difference in the world no matter how small. I felt like I had contributed a great deal yesterday in my little world and slept better last night.

    But I truly wonder, how do the really powerful people in this world sleep at night? Are they burdened by the harm they’ve done or things left undone or things simply ignored? I would think that would be an unbearable burden for some people…. but yet people like us are up at night …

    I answered yesterday’s post too but see it disappeared so I’ll try to recreate it!

    Thank you for this post! Much love!

    Like

  2. Oh, Paul, I LOVE these thoughts, this confession, this meditation. It resonates with just about every fiber of my being, and I thank you for extending my consciousness during my morning’s “coming awake” time. Like you, I am more comfortable dwelling in the shadows; I am more equipped for mourning than for rejoicing, but also like you, I believe, I have learned over my life’s course that wisdom, faith, and ironically, hope, hide in the shadows and even in mourning and reveal themselves slowly and often painfully over time.

    Just before I saw your post, I had been reading today’s meditation from Richard Rohr, and something in his post had struck a chord with me that had not sounded before, at least to my memory. He suggested that Love is “a kind of universal forgiveness of Reality for being what it is.” I understood when I read the phrase that he had brought something before my eyes that I have been searching for – a concept to help me bundle this whole suffering, complex world, this sometimes tiresome, frustrating life, into an idea in which the inseparable, essential, eternal bonds and energies of God/Love, in and through and beneath all of the suffering and complexity, as well as in and through all the wonder and joy, can make sense to human understanding. His idea of “forgiveness of Reality for being what it is” helps me understand the patient Love of God for God’s magnificent, unruly Creation, and it helps me put words to something that I can strive for, that won’t tie me to either hating or dismissing parts of this life and this world and that won’t tie me to beating myself up for failing.

    I love particularly your words:

    As tranquil as this may be, I prefer or, at least, accept my compassion-induced fatigue, which, for me, is a physical indicator and a psychic reminder that I do not and cannot stand apart from the world around me. Rather I am at-one with all creation and at league, hand-in-hand with all people.

    Your example of grace-filled acceptance of your unity with all that is, coupled with the idea of God’s and our ability to lovingly forgive all of its troublesomeness because we are such a part of it, completes a gift that I needed today: “I do not and cannot stand apart from the world around me…..” I am a part, and I participate in and own both its good and its evil, but both acceptance and forgiveness are available to us and to all that is in Love, both to receive from God and to give to the world. And that is my precious privilege and my calling.

    With much gratitude and love, as always, dear Paul,

    Karen

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Always, my dearest sisters, I thank you for reading and reflecting on what I share, and then responding so deeply thoughtfully and passionately…

    My immediate take-aways from each of you…

    From you, Loretta: “Yesterday I began thinking to myself that all we can do in this world without totally falling into bed more emotionally than physically tired is to focus on making a difference in the world no matter how small” and “But I truly wonder, how do the really powerful people in this world sleep at night?”

    As for your question, I oft ask myself the same. Yet, it is your observation, your wisdom regarding “focus(ing) on making a difference in the world no matter how small” that grants me the balance I need. If and as and when I concentrate on doing what I can, where I am, with what I have, then I spare myself from falling into the pit of despair’s meaninglessness, particularly when I think of what I could do if I had more resources, more power, more opportunity, etc. I thank you for offering your perspective, which is ballast to and for my soul.

    From you Karen: “Your example of grace-filled acceptance of your unity with all that is, coupled with the idea of God’s and our ability to lovingly forgive all of its troublesomeness because we are such a part of it, completes a gift that I needed today…I am part, and I participate in and own both its good and its evil, but both acceptance and forgiveness are available to us and to all that is in Love, both to receive from God and to give to the world.” Your words reveal unto me a heretofore hidden (to me) arrogance. That is, when I find myself in this place of woe o’er the state of the world as I observe it, aye, as I participate in it, I can overlook my part in the ills that weary my soul. It is not that I consider myself good and free from doing harm…from being harmful (both to others and to myself), but rather, in focusing on whate’er the problems – Australian wildfires, political machinations, detention of children at our border, on and on – I, without quite being conscious of it, can allow myself the grace of a moral “pass” (i.e., Who me? I didn’t cause these things!), and, thus, ignorantly cast a blind eye to an element of the logic of my larger view: If, indeed, as I am at-one with all creation, then I have a part in both its grandeur and its ills. Thank you, dear Karen, for whipping the blinders off that covered my eyes!

    Love you two, each and both, beyond my capacity to tell,
    Paul

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I just LOVE y’all!!!

    Like

    1. The feeling is mutual, Loretta!

      Hugs and much love,

      Karen

      Like

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