Sunday, September 12, 2010

My heart is broken

It was on Saturday evening that I realized my heart was broken. Sounds like the first line of a novel.  It would be so easy to make this post fiction.  Instead of face the reality.  One so stark I’m not even sure as I write this where this post is going.

My heart is broken because there’s never going to be even the slightest inquiry into the “torture” – a depravity called by so many euphemisms, instead of its truthful name.  But even worse my heart is broken by the centuries and the thousands of centuries of equal inhumanity to man.  The punishment of so many innocents.  The going to war and justification of killing and torture and rape and pillage by so-called “virtues” as if using words could ever make this ok.  My heart is breaking, not just because of these particular tortures and wars, but also because I can look into myself and see the same potentials, the same anger, the same kinds of justifications within my own torn and divided heart.

My heart is broken because we’re never really going to get health care like we really need health care.   Health care for all – where the money goes for “care” and not for corporate welfare.  But even worse my broken heart cries out for the fact of ill health itself.  For sickness and disability and dying alone or unloved or on battlefields or other places of carnage, so different from medical settings where lives are valued to such extremes that the unwell are inflicted with “treatments” that make them suffer all the more.  It’s the pain of life leading to death and the path along that strewn with illness and suffering.  And the inability to ultimately alleviate these truths from my mind.

My heart is broken because national ideals and religious ideals are too often just words and pageantry.  Because greed is so rampant.  And because people have figured out ever better ways to disguise that and package products and ideals and sell them.  For riches.  For power.  And I can see those same pulls contending within my own heart – so I can’t cast stones or I’d have to cast them at myself.

I’m trying to rise above all this.  I think of the Buddha, raised in a comfortable palace, protected from all by enjoyment, ultimately shocked when he ventured out and saw sickness and death and suffering.  It wasn’t that he didn’t care to try and alleviate them.  But he saw them as the human condition and he set out to try and find release from the fears and the wishes that prompt our inner suffering, as well as from the negative feelings like anger or resentment or revenge which ravage the world around us when they are unleashed by you or me or those we oppose.  And then to save all beings through sharing  that realization.

Jesus was murdered for trying to get people to care about each other.  I think of him now as the Man of the Broken Heart, the Man of Sorrows so many have called him.  A man who died for Love.  And I take comfort in sharing that Broken Heart.

There’s a line from one of the psalms that says “a heart broken and crushed, oh, God you will not spurn.”  I guess I’ve arrived there.  Andre Louf calls that a place of true humility.  A place where you admit your total powerlessness.  Your brokenness.  Failed ideals.  Failed efforts to live up to them yourself.  A place where you look around at the rubble of what you’ve tried to do and failed to do.   How all of us fail.

So I’m not looking for sympathy.  I hope you understand that.  There are no words of comfort that have not been said before.  For the Man of Sorrows, the Man of the Broken Heart, even the Buddha, they’ve been there too.  And the psalmist, the psalmist has been there.  A condition of complete simplicity (Costing not less than everything) as TS Eliot describes it.  Followed by the comforting words of Julian of Norwich that “all shall be well and all manner of thing shall be well” – but that is on a spiritual plane:  When the tongues of flame are infolded / Into the crowned knot of fire / And the fire and the rose are one. (whatever that means… it can’t be easy!)

Oh, yes, stilli… I know your sense of alienation…



Oh TheraP. You have caused me to shed a tear.

I tend to pretend some evils do not exist.

What a beautiful poem.

Sometimes a sweet little lilt eases the pain of everyday life:

TheraP said...

Now that brings a tear to my eye, dear Roundish Tabled one. We long for that! And even seeing it depicted... as something we'd all want.

And it's the "kinship of heart to heart", as Alexander Solzhenitzen wrote in Cancer Ward. Even the kinship of broken hearts ... "and the way we look at the world" - that makes all the difference.

Blessings, dear DD.

Amike said...

I'm reminded of the way we used to watch three dimension films in the 'fifties...with those glasses with one green lens and one red lens. Without either there was an indistinguishable blur. With just one, a picture which didn't make sense, but with both, a picture which looked real.

I think we have something similar... a joy lens through which we see all joy, a sorrow lens through which we see all sorrow. With neither we see just a blur, and with only one a distortion. The hard part is to keep the joy lens in our eye when the sorrow lens wants to dominate everything. And, I suppose the opposite as well. Too often we put the rosy glass up, declare "we won!" and then head home. But it doesn't compensate for that by putting up the black "we lost" lens and hope that the two average out one after the other.

Look through both simultaneously. I show this film... Amandla, in my classes--subtitled Revolution in Four Part Harmony. I was surprised to find it on YouTube in full. Look at it TheraP... you'll be so glad you did, and I think it demonstrates what I'm trying to say. (I have to learn how to make urls work in comments, but cutting and pasting should.

TheraP said...

I love your comment, Amike! The two colors of the 3D glasses. I'd forgotten that. And bittersweet is really my favorite emotion - for a long time now. There IS a joy in sorrow. And a sorrow in joy. Feelings are wonderful things to have.

And I'm going to watch that video right now!