Sitting with Suffering

I thought I would do a lot of writing this summer. I was looking forward to long days of exploring my own thoughts and putting them down on paper. I did not do that. I was doing a lot of reading and thinking. I was challenging myself to go places I had been avoiding. I was reading a lot about people struggling with inequity. I was thinking about myself, my place, my part in inequity. I was examining my bias. I was going to some hard places and I was refusing to throw up my hands and say “What am I suppose to do about these big problems?”

We have big problems in our world. And if we aren’t responsible for those big problems who is? I have the privilege of walking away from so many of these big problems. I am white, I am middle class, I am a citizen of the United States. I can walk away from big problems. But I can’t.

I was listening to Brene Brown recently and she was saying that as human beings we are all connected. I believe that is true. She went on to say that as long as any one of us is suffering we will all suffer. I believe that is also true.

So I have been taking myself to some really hard places. I have been looking at suffering. I have been trying to sit with the suffering and acknowledge it’s presence. And I have been wondering. Where do I go from here? Writing this is my next step.

The Keeper of Small Thngs

One of my little guys from last school year inspired me to write this. So though this is inspired by my experiences, it is a fictional piece. I am not sure where it is going. I wanted to explore what I am seeing and experiencing through the amazing little beings in my life from another perspective. I am hoping that putting this out into the light helps me move forward and continue the story.

Hurt no living thing:
Ladybird, nor butterfly
Nor moth with dusty wing,
Nor cricket chirping cheerily,
Nor grasshopper so light of leap,
Nor dancing gnat, nor beetle flat,
Nor harmless worms that creep.
Christina Rossetti

The Keeper of Small Things

My teacher tells me to pay attention but I am always paying attention. I am paying attention to all those small things that need to be protected. All those small things that need to find their ways back to their homes. My teacher tells me not to worry but she doesn’t know that I have to be watching and ready to do my job. Small things have to always be watching and thinking about what to do next. It is the only way to stay safe. I am small but there are things smaller than me. I know what my job is.

Keeping small things safe is important, taking care of small things that’s my job. Dying flies need a resting place under the old yarn spool, crayons need to find their homes, crickets need to be saved from the bathroom sink, and my little brother, he is the biggest job for such a small thing, I have to teach him to be invisible. I have to help him learn about how to stay safe. My hands are small but they can do big things. They can take care of things. I watch carefully.

One day my teacher saved a spider from our classroom. Maybe she does understand what it means to take care of small things. I don’t know maybe, maybe not. She is also the one who told me to stop worrying about the flies. And then they died. I hid them under the old yarn spool. I couldn’t look at them. The next day I went back to find them and they were gone. Did the teacher find them? Did she find them a new home? She did put the spider outside safe from the stomping of all our feet. She let me help her save the spider. She caught him with a cup and put her hand over the top. There was still space for the spider to get out so I put my hand over the space and then we carried the cup to the window. The teacher opened the window and let the spider outside.

Maybe she does know about taking care of small things. I’m not sure yet. I think I have to keep watching and paying attention. I have to keep doing my job, taking care of small things.