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Posts Tagged ‘injustice’

We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures. (Thornton Wilder)

Jay and I are in a checkout line at a store on Black Friday. The store is far less crowded than we expected. We see a woman we both know.

“How was your Thanksgiving?” Jay asks.

I don’t hear her at first, but soon discover why she looks sad. Her husband died two days before Thanksgiving.

We offer condolences. She is buying supplies for a party—to celebrate his life.

I nod, then follow an impulse. One quick hug. No words. She accepts the gesture. I let go before any public display of tears.

She lets us know she is not withdrawing. I nod again. Words can’t touch the reality. The stages of grief can’t be bypassed.

I think about the few leaves left on the sweet gum tree in our back yard.

I don’t live in a part of the world with perennial warmth. In the Midwest, the leaves have held on tighter than they have in past years. Bright reds and oranges contrast against dark bark. Moderate temperatures have lingered. Until now

Winter steals a huge chunk of the calendar year. I want to remain inside summer fun, celebrate days without pain, icy streets, conflict, or injustice. Although I know war, injustice, the us-versus-them notion, has been around since the tale of Cain and Abel. Dissonance has nothing to do with seasons.

The current state of the U.S. has heightened injustice. Yet, many people scarcely notice. And I mourn the loss of sensitivity: to the notion that women are equal as human beings; people with disabilities need to be treated as people, not as disabilities; clean water is more important than any industry…

Branches demand the leaves let go. New buds will take over. Eventually. In the human realm, new buds of change don’t have a specific season.

Despite loss, this woman my husband and I know, is celebrating life. Hers and the husband she loved. I don’t know the future. True, I see a lot of dark clouds.  I also know people who treasure both truth and justice.

I am alive when I am conscious of my treasures. As Jay and I come home from the store, Jay reaches for the heaviest items to carry into the house, exactly what I would have predicted he would do. He and I have been married for forty-five years.

“You know what I liked about today?” I tell him. “Spending it with you.”

Leaves cover the yard, front and back. More will join them. Of course, no one ever promised fully-alive would be easy.

last-of-the-november-leaves-2016

 

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