I’d stopped to rest my backpack on the low wall that ran along the outside edge of the cemetery. Fumbling around for my gloves, I heard a car pull up on the road behind me. I turned to see what was happening as the driver called out:
“Do you know where the correctional centre is for the bad people?”
As he drove away, the emotion bubbled up hot and strong, my heart broke, and the tears fell.
The bad people.
The people who aren’t like me. The people who are different from me. The people who are separate from me. The people who’ve done things I’d never do (ha – what arrogance to think that if I were that person, with their sum total of life experiences, in their shoes at that moment in time – I wouldn’t do what they did.) The people who have something wrong with them. The people who are just rotten on the inside and there’s nothing that can be done.
The bad people.
But why – if these people aren’t like me, if these people are different from me, if these people are separate and have done things I think I’d never do – why does it hurt deep in the caverns of my heart in a way that feels he may as well have been talking about me?
It’s rhetorical. I know why this hurts. And if you’ve ever felt this same sort of pain you know why too. It hurts because those people are like you. Not just like you, they are you. So this hurts. It stings and it burns.
I can feel sometimes, in moments like this, how my heart wants to close. I can feel how I want to shut myself off from it all. I don’t want to be with this pain. Maybe this is just the way of it. Perhaps the world truly is a bad, dark place. Perhaps I really am separate from everyone else. Maybe this feeling inside that tells me this isn’t the way it’s meant to be is nothing more than a childish fantasy.
But somewhere else inside, I also know…whatever it is that makes the tears fall from my eyes in moments like this – well, it’s something true and something real. And not only that, but it’s important, too. This is not the way it’s meant to be.
You know, don’t you, what’s it like to feel the world like this? To feel the ache of the separation you know isn’t our collective truth?
Allow me to remind you then, please, that your sensitivity isn’t a childish thing. Not a naive thing. Not a silly thing. It is a beautiful portal to what is most true – that despite what the eyes would tell us, there is no space between us at all.
Love and courage,