I don’t understand this life sometimes.
I’m buying candy canes for my little ones, while babies die and starve in Aleppo.
I’m scrutinizing wrapping paper options, while politicians pretend that climate change is a myth.
I’m noticing with chagrin that my jeans are getting tight, while the local food bank in town is running out of food because so many families are hungry this year.
How do we hold these realities within us?
I don’t know.
We just do.
We feel helpless, angry, paralyzed. We feel guilty, afraid, grateful. We feel so many conflicting emotions all at once that it makes us feel a little bit crazy.
So we have to make room inside ourselves for all of it.
We have to be fucking cathedrals.
We will be wracked by grief, but we won’t let despair take us over. We will let the warm comfort of twinkle lights and hot chocolate sink down into our souls, but we won’t forget the ones who are suffering.
Somehow, we simply hold these realities inside ourselves.
We do this because the alternative is unacceptable. We cannot afford to slide into helpless paralysis. Nor can we afford to escape into pretty red and gold la-la land where nothing real can touch us. More than ever, we need to be awake. Here. Showing up.
So we keep our feet firmly planted in the life we are in. Isn’t it gorgeous? Isn’t it full of life and color and delicious things? It is!! It is!! Sweet baby Jesus, it is. Kneel down and kiss this unutterably sweet life.
And we keep our hands stretched out to the places in the world where things are bleak and grim and horrifying. Some of those places are much closer than Aleppo; they might be next door, or across town, or at the other end of a phone line. We send love, we send money, we do what is in front of us to do. If you don’t know what to do, support the people wearing white helmets who are pulling people out of rubble.
We have to get absolutely enormous.
So that is what we will do.
Great tragedy always puts things into perspective. It shows us what’s truly important. It doesn’t make our holiday celebrations less sacred; it just shows us what a ridiculously amazing gift of good fortune they are. And it shows us that when our time of rest and merry-making is over, it will be time to gear up and get serious about doing what matters most with this one wild and precious life.
Merry Merry, my loves. Treasure each rich full chaotic buttery moment.
Do not fear your heartbreak. It is pointing you toward your deep work in the world.
And you are big enough for all of it.