How do we comprehend the grief of millions except in the individuality of each one?
How do we comprehend the lost children, the lost parents, the lost hope, except to look suffering in the eye and bear witness?
* * * *
On the beach you stood there silently, smiling at me,
Arms raised toward me as if to toss a ball.
But no, you were just holding out your arms for me to run into them,
To receive the hug that was always yours to give.
And I would have come toward you, but the moment was frozen in time.
I heard a sound behind me, very close,
Closer than understanding, closer than thinking.
It said danger. It said fear.
And even as I wanted to go toward you,
I was pushed away by a force more powerful than I,
Barely seeing as the wave knocked you off your feet.
Barely breathing as I thought I saw this.
It was only a split-second -
First, you were standing there with arms outstretched,
Then, you were under the water and I was running fast, fast, fast,
As fast as I could to get away from the force that was pulling me down.
I did not see where you went, when you went under.
I did not see if your arms were still reaching out for me.
I did not see if you cried, or gasped, or struggled.
I wish I knew.
I couldn't see anything because the water carried me away
Even while I was running, or thinking I was.
It must have been a dream that I was moving myself.
In truth, it was the water tossing me like a very light ball,
Tumbling me like a toy that has no will of its own,
Finally, after minutes or hours, putting me down somewhere,
Somewhere, somewhere - but not with you.
Where I was set down was far away from where you were last standing.
Later, I tried to go back but there was nothing there.
No smiling face, no arms reaching out,
Only the vast, now calm reddish-brown sea,
Filled with the soil and debris of all that had been scraped
from the ravaged land.
I can't believe that I will not see you again.
How could it be that you were taken in an instant?
In your room, the room we shared,
The room that is no longer a room
But a collapsed heap of stone and pieces of wood,
Only a red bandana remained.
One, single red bandana, telling the story of a life.
I know there is much more pain to come.
But now, I can barely breathe.
I can barely feel that what I see is real.
When I look out upon the water
And see all that quietly floats there coming in to shore,
Unnaturally quiet, unnaturally accepting its fate,
I feel that the world has forever changed,
That the order of life has turned itself upside down,
That what was solid is now liquid
And what was liquid is now solid.
And I, I no longer know what I am.
All that I know is that I hold tightly to a red bandana,
A bandana that tells me that in the midst of unreality,
Something remains that is real.
I Am the Earth
I am the Earth, the womb of all living beings.
I am the dust out of which each is made,
The breath which each breathes,
The heart with which each cries.
I contain all within myself.
There is not one child that gets lost but that I know.
There is not one parent that cries out, but that I know.
There is not one land, or city, or dwelling that is rocked with grief,
Whose grief does not live within me as well.
For I am everywhere, I am everyone.
All who have passed on come through me
before returning to the upper regions.
All who have passed on, are my children as well.
For in me lives no time.
I am eternal as the stars are eternal -
Not the physical structure which contains the spirit,
But the essence which endures forever.
That which happens to my children, happens to me.
I cry for those who have gone, and for those who remain.
I cry for the need that caused the outer shell of my being
To move in a way that generated sorrow for so many.
It was not my heart which made it so.
It was inner necessity,
The need to release energy which had become blocked
Which, now, must return to the light.
There was no other way.
Had there been, it would have occurred.
The movement of the plates that are my outer skin was needed
For they were hardened,
Suffocating the inner life that sought to expand.
They could not let the breath of life move from the inner to the outer,
From the outer to the inner.
A way had to be made to let the energy pass through.
Would that another way might have been possible.
That the children of my heart could have been spared this great sadness.
I am not nature that gives and that takes away.
I am nature that loves all beings, but that is subject
To the greater law of life as it evolves.
Do not seek to blame yourselves for what has happened to you,
my dearest children,
And do not seek to blame the earth.
For all blaming leads to misunderstanding.
Seek only to understand that if this great tragedy could have been avoided,
It would have been.
And if others, in the future, can be avoided,
They will be as well.
Your help in allowing my inner spirit to enter you can assist with this -
By perceiving me as a living, breathing being who is part of you,
As well as the expression of God.
Therefore, humbly ask to be shown the truth of who I am
So that you may know, for the future, how much I love you,
How greatly my love wants to nurture you.
But for now, I weep with you,
I weep, and hope that what has come to pass will be a teaching about life,
more than a teaching about death.
I weep, and hope that out of the mud and water of the present pain
Will come a new flowering of understanding
That we are one in heart, one in breath,
And that in this oneness, this shared essence,
We are both being called to our Divine destinies.