I am forever rewriting a statement of belief. If I ever get it finished enough- it’ll never be really complete- I’ll put it here. In it, I say I believe that joy, (not happiness and not pleasure) signal the correct path towards growth- that pain and chaos are always a signal that we are in the wrong place, attending to the wrong things, at war with what actually exists, etc. But I’m starting to wonder if that’s the case. Perhaps there is disintegration, alienation, and meaninglessness that simply is. And we feel its pain. And that’s all.
I’m uncertain though. I believe in the role of suffering to educate. I believe in the underworld as the painful chaos of creation, but I can see no growth coming out of Beslan. The children who sat out terror for hours to die away from their mothers alone aren’t going to increase integration or become more fully realized versions of themselves. Nor does everything that fails to kill me strengthen me. Some things just leave you scarred, damaged or broken.
I guess it comes down to one of my primary tenets: All Truth is a paradox. Pain exists for a purpose and pain exists for no reason at all. I am so used to reading pain as a call to action I marshal my litany of empowerment: from Frankle’s “last human freedom” to Gandhi’s “Satyagraha,” I have asserted my ability to pray, to visualize, to create, to integrate and individuate, to grow in response to pain. I have said I know the root causes of all pain and that they are powerlessness and meaninglessnes. And now. Now I wonder if some pain defies any creative growth. If, as we face the parents of Breslan, all we can do is take one more breath. And one more. This pain exists for no reason at all.
And what do you do in the face of reasonless, purposeless pain?
Do you do what you can?
Do you do nothing at all?
I lit a Grieve candle. It doesn’t seem like enough.
I keep searching the shadows, looking for meaning. I keep wondering “what is this trying to tell me? What is the message in the broken things, the beauty in the disordered elements?” and I think there is no meaning there. No warning, no clarion call. Nothing to avoid. No action to undertake. Sometimes suffering comes without the easy sidestep into anger, without the terrible dark goddess, the avenging angle, the protector of the innocent, the warrior for justice. Is she strong enough to only hold my hand?
Does she walk into the valley of the shadow of death, and just have a seat there?
Does she look at you and not blink? Can she hold your eye and love you in your agony?
Then so must I. Unblinking.