It’s an acrid smell and my stomach churns slightly. I am carrying around “the despair of the world” this morning after a weekend of senseless violence and hate crimes. I know I should limit my exposure to the news, and yet I do not want to be hiding my head under the blanket. These are real events and real people whose lives have been abruptly ended or forever changed.
I know it is my job at the very least to hold space for and bear witness to the grief of shattered lives. Even if I don’t have the energy to start a revolution today.
So I go seeking solace, maybe mercy, in the poetry books on my desk: Alice Walker, Mary Oliver and Seamus Heaney borrowed from the library last week. And Parker J. Palmer’s Facebook page - he is a good culler of meaning-making poems (among other things).
Looking out on our back patio - I see our tipped over table, surrounded by a circle of glass. The wind unceremoniously toppled the table over the weekend. Shattered glass like shattered lives.
This is what poetry helps me to do - find the metaphors in my life. I cannot hold all the grief that seems to be surging through our world these days. But I can go outside and get down on my knees.
I will pick up shards of glass and drop them into a paper bag. I will think of the lives lost and the lives changed forever. I will pray. I will let my tears mix with the raindrops.
And perhaps, then, I will be ready to face a world that desperately needs me, needs each one of us.
What’s yearning to be named inside of you? What might be ready to be released?
Jessica Curtis is a professional coach who helps people cultivate intention and live from a place of meaning and authenticity. If you think you could benefit from working with Jessica or want to invite her to work with your group, reach out to start a conversation.