Monday, November 16, 2015

Gratitude and Fear

by Carol

I am coming off of a peaceful, full birthday weekend. Both of my children and my daughter's boyfriend were here. My favorite part of weekends like this one is going to sleep at night with the knowledge that my children (now adults) are safely tucked in, in the rooms right next to mine. For two nights, I slept knowing for sure that at that very moment they were safe. There was no yesterday, and no guarantee for the future, but at the very moment that I closed my eyes each night, I knew they were safe and happy.

But my peaceful weekend was juxtaposed with the incomprehensible news from France - a place that lives in my heart.  During those same moments that I was closing my eyes with gratefulness there were parents searching for, or mourning for their children. Of course, I know that to be true everyday. I remember when my daughter was fighting for her life as an infant, that I used to sit in the hospital and think that somewhere other people were feeding their healthy babies at home. All of life is happening all the time. 

I don't have any new words regarding Paris or terrorism. But I always find solace in those people who can find words. I am once again grateful for the spirit and heart of David DuChemin who wrote this beautiful piece.  I am also grateful to contemplative photographer Diane Walker who wrote a beautiful poem using the analogy of the fall trees. You can read it on her Facebook page blog, "Contemplative Photography by Diane Walker." Elizabeth Gilbert had wise words on Instagram. 

I know I quote these people a lot. I know they offer only words. But what more do we have than words to offer hope and solace.  How else to express our compassion and combat our fears than to express our individual and our collective wishes for understanding and peace? The Dalai Lama said " Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them, humanity cannot survive."

And to deal with our personal fears - there is gratitude . Gratitude for all we are given each day, in the here and now, wherever we exist. As DuChemin suggests, let us "turn to the light."

"Evolution and all hopes for a better world rest in the fearlessness and open-hearted vision of people who embrace life."
                                   John Lennon


Dotti said...

Well said, Carol. We'll never make sense of the senseless, evil things others may do. But our humanity demands that we join hearts and hands with those who have been harmed irreparably by the evil doers. And life itself demands that we reaffirm the good that still exists in our world, the love we know to be a real and constant presence in our lives. And always, light will drive out darkness so we must constantly seek the light.

Like you, Paris is a place that lives in my heart. To know Paris is to love Paris. Je suis Paris.

terriporter said...

The perfect post for today, Carol. Such a sad time for Paris and we all feel that sadness. On the one hand we're grateful that it all happened so far away and in another country and to other people's families but we are all of the human family and we all feel the pain when something like this happens. Those who have actually been to Paris feel it even more acutely because it is more real to them. But even though I have never been there, I go to bed each night grateful for the peace in my own town and saddened that it isn't that way for everybody. So glad you were able to celebrate your birthday with your children and I think every mother can relate to that feeling of completeness when they are sleeping under our roofs. All is right with the world, with our personal world at least. And sometimes, that is enough.

kimmanleyort said...

Thank you, Carol. Words bring us together, unite us in grief, and give us hope. You've done that here. There is only now and what we can do in this moment.

Barbara said...

Carol, your words so eloquently reflect what so many of us are thinking. Thank you for sharing them with us. The grief and fear are overwhelming but we must find the good, the hope, the light. As we've traveled on this road with our photography, our worlds have gotten smaller. We are connected as photographers, mothers, humans. Nous sommes avec vous, Paris. (We are with you, Paris.)

Anonymous said...

Carol, as most of us are still feeling the horrible grief of the terrorist attack in Paris, your beautiful words give us hope! Im still at a loss for words and overwhelmed with the fact that my children and grands will have to endure the pain and evil of this world long after Im gone! I can totally relate with just wanting to gather my children and grandchildren and hold them close and tight to me, but as most have stated we must follow the light to drive out the darkness! Thanks for sharing!

Cathy H. said...

Carol, this is so well written and illustrated. You are right, it is very difficult to express our feelings of grief and terror. Being grateful each day for the light in our lives will help ease the grief and the fear. Thank you for your words today.

AFishGirl said...

Thank you for your words here. Yes. Yes.

heyjudephotography said...

You are right Carol, our words are all that we have in a time like this, but our words are important and you have chosen so many "just right" words here in this post - well done dear friend. Thank you also for sharing David duChemin's beautifully moving words, as well as Diane Walker's poem.

kelly said...

we're all in the same boat carol...trying to make sense of this crazy world. trying to stay grateful. thank you for sharing these authors' words and your heart. xoxoxo

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