A friend’s teenage son hit a deer. He was driving at night down a country road, a deer ran in front of his car, and he wasn’t able to avoid hitting her. Sadly, this happens all the time around here. The easy thing would have been to keep driving. Very few people would have the strength of character to stop and make sure she was dead, to make sure she was not left there to suffer. Few would have the strength to face the life just taken, the life they took. It’s easier to tell ourselves she's dead and keep driving.
It’s easier to not ask the difficult questions and just keep driving. We so often tell ourselves the convenient story and keep moving forward.
Don’t we all do this in some form or another? Not ask the difficult questions? Not feel the difficult feelings? Just. Keep. Driving?
As it turns out we are not able to buffer ourselves from feeling all the suffering and simultaneously open ourselves fully to the ecstatic and miraculous beauty of this world. It’s one channel, and it’s open or it’s closed. Or, that’s my experience.
While it’s not easy, it is a tremendously beautiful thing. The more of us who allow ourselves to see the inconsistencies, feel the injustice, experience the heartbreak, the more likely we are to move toward justice, integrity, connection. We will be more likely to take the (usually) inconvenient steps toward making the world a better place. We will be more likely to pull over, run through the corn field, and stay with the life we have just taken until they cross over.
This is not the work for the weak, but what makes us strong and what makes the virtuous choice our only choice is allowing ourselves to feel. When we have empathy, when we feel the heart break, we only have the choice to move toward love in new and powerful ways.
Being fully alive and present is not about what’s easy. What is easy is to stay asleep. It is easier and probably more comfortable to not feel. When we are in sleep mode, cruising through the world not really paying attention, not really listening, not really connecting, not seeing the beauty all around us, and not really knowing how we are feeling, then we don’t have to feel all the pain and suffering inside ourselves. Simultaneously, we are buffered from feeling all the pain, suffering, injustice, heartbreak that goes on all around us. Opening the channel of feeling is worth it. It’s why we’re here. That’s my belief. We are here to open ourselves to this human experience. And being human is feeling. Feeling it all. The heartbreak, the beauty, THE LOVE. One channel. Open, open.
I am heartened and hopeful about our future that this young man did indeed run through the cornfield to be with the wounded dying deer. He put his hands on her. He felt deep empathy. He wished her peace.
May we all be that brave, that full of heart.