The burden of grieving

There is a weight to grief. Yesterday I found it sitting on my chest, compressing my lungs and preventing a full breath. It hurts. Over my heart, a muscle pinch just inside my scapula, and a pumping ache behind my brow.

I sat with it, which is a new quarantine practice.

What am I feeling?

Where and how do I feel it?

What of this is mine?

What of this is to be let go?

What of this can I control?

I find it’s the collective societal wound of racism fueled injustice. It throbs. I am feeling the deep wound first cut at the founding of our country, at the founding of all civilization. The blade of tyranny cut our fellow humanity at the knee so the power holder might seem raised above. The swordsman believed a lie- that there wasn’t enough power or bounty or love for everyone. The poverty began with the first act of subjugation. And the incision has only grown deeper, wider and more putrid.

Some might have thought the sutures of emancipation or voting rights or affirmative action healed the wound. But with an hour of evening news you can see the vile infection that’s lay below the surface is now bursting forth. Many knew it was simmering right below the surface, they smelled the stench. Others have been shocked by the presentation, thinking the pus of one man’s death in Minneapolis is not linked to our country’s foundational beliefs that it is acceptable to treat another human being as livestock, to be owned as though without a soul.

They did not know that the gangrene had been left unchecked because it was hidden with a clean epidermis of what they thought was a functioning society. But the finger pointing and polarizing screeching only served to distract the collective conscious from the growing fever and internal shooting pain. WE ARE SICK. ALL OF US ARE SICK. Accepted injustice against any of us is an injustice against all of us.

The throbbing in my temples asks if this gangrene can even be cut out? What if our sickness is not in an extremity to be amputated like a diabetic foot? What if this sickness is in the very bowels of our society? How do we stop the infection before it kills us all?

We left the oppressive ruler of colonialism on the idol wings of Manifest Destiny to begin afresh on this continent. Given time it seems all we did was expand the sickness to this continent too. Is this the human condition? Will we always seek to rule over others and oppress thinking that less for ‘others’ means more for us? Because what it really does is make less for all of us.

More for ‘others’ means more for everyone.

How does the Kingdom of peace and love and safety and wholeness come here? How do I participate in that Kingdom Come? Because the reign of theft, death and destruction is unacceptable for me, for any future I can influence for my children, and for any ‘other’ I may have in my life and in our world.

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