Tuesday, October 21, 2014

I'm going on retreat on Friday. It's a thing I do at this time of year. Six days of silence in the woods with the deer and vegetarian food and a wee room to sleep in. Blessed silence. Only the far off train whistle and the birds.

And no responsibilities. No phone. No questions from anyone. A chance to unhook including the internet, no WIFI. Lovely.

When I return, we ready ourselves for our last Teen Feed of the year. On Halloween. In cat ears. Or a witch's hat. Or whiskers. As long as we don't drag anything into the food.

There are the bones of two rooms in the back of my house. The tarp roof makes a frightful noise when the wind blows but hey, I have actual stairs to the basement. Poured cement. I told Jim I was leaving for 6 days and when I returned my house would be done. He chuckled, sardonically. I can be such a silly person.

A roof and closed-in walls would be excellent before it gets cold. But my expectations are low, very low.

On Sunday, I was in the bookstore sitting by the bathroom, where there was a bit of a line. Apparently a few book store employees came to extract a homeless man who was trying to use the loo. He started yelling that no one cared about him, he was just a person, why was he being treated this way. It was awful. By the time I got up to intervene, he was gone.

I mean, can't he use the bathroom? What harm is there?

Today on Broadway, in a busy neighborhood, I watched from my car as a homeless man rinsed out/washed a pain of pants in the drinking fountain.

This world breaks me every day. And I must not turn away. We all have the opportunity to witness and hold the humanity of our brothers and sisters in their distress, even when we can't change their circumstances. And we can love them.

You may look this whole world over and never find anyone more deserving of love than yourself.-

                       The Buddha


Ms. Moon said...

Sometimes I think all we can do is register, take note, look directly into someone's eyes if that is appropriate.
Have a holy time at your retreat, Beth. You deserve it.
And I am so glad to hear that you don't have to go up and down a ladder to do your laundry. You deserve that, as well.

Elizabeth said...

I see these things daily here in Los Angeles and try to abide, at least in my mind, with that person. It's hard not to go numb, to know what to say to one's children, to go on, really.

I do hope your retreat replenishes you. It sounds divine.

Sabine said...

The only real political activity I can put my heart into in these days and times: to look after and lobby for those who are "lost". And I am pretty dismal about it.

This is a cruel world.

Wishing you a wonderful restorative retreat. And a picture book house to come home to.

Jo said...

You're so right. Be a witness, be an ally, be a kind smile if it's all you've got to give.

Betsy MacWhinney said...

Oh, Beth. what a hearbreaking post.

Enjoy your break, sistah!


Marylinn Kelly said...

A quote discovered two days ago from Rilke: Keep holy all that befalls. A friend refers to our assignments as enlightened witnesses for each other. I will think of the train whistle in your silence, of your heart voyages as the mind sits back. xo