I recently met with a young person who was suffering. That meeting left me thinking about how, when we are young, it is so easy for life to leave us in despair. Not that we don’t hurt later; maybe it’s just that when we are young our hopes and expectations are fresh, and, when we are disappointed or betrayed, we feel it keenly. Pain may seem unbearable then.
So often, early pain creates splits in one’s sense of self, leaving one divided rather than whole. When this happens, life looses that sense of comfort and ease that underpins joy. Without ease, both the social and interpersonal worlds can seem daunting, indeed.
At least early on, Spirit may offer us opportunities to seek wholeness and companionship, to heal the fractures and splits, with self and others. Even when we feel there is a war within us we may be invited to understand that even divided selves are part of the human experienced, as is the pain such divisions may engender.
When I meet young people (or elders) who struggle against themselves, my heart reaches out to comfort them. I want badly to offer solace and encouragement, to show them pathways home. Yet, I am repeatedly reminded that I am only allowed to offer; I must never insist. Perhaps this intense desire to help arises from my own experience of suffering. No matter; healing demands I temper my hunger to aid; I can offer and must respect the response I receive in return.
I imagine we are each in such a relationship with the larger world as well. We yearn to heal Her, and all those who share Her with us. Yet, we are only allowed to do what we receive permission from the other to do; each being must choose a path that seems fitting to them. Of course, beings may choose paths of darkness, leading to harm to self and others. Then, those of us who are affected must make hard choices, even as we hold a vision of ease, comfort, and joy for all.
As the autumn settles upon the land, we gather the harvest and prepare for the winter to come. It is a fitting time to reflect on the challenges of the road and the mysteries of joy and suffering. It is a good time to offer one another support and solace, and to share the plenty. May we have the grace to do so without insisting they choose to live in our own preferred way.