Enemies, Fear, Freedom and Death
A world-renowned wise person once said, “some people need an enemy.” When I heard that I played out Robin Hood scenes of shields, swords, bows and arrows and blood. In the fog of horses kicking up dirt in my head I was no closer to solid ground. I knew I’d never felt or behaved as if I needed an enemy. An even more stunning revelation was that I knew I couldn’t be an enemy. To the aggressors perhaps that’s a win as I’d be appreciating the dappled sunlight through the trees as I lay face up, run through with a scabbard, my life force pouring away into Sherwood Forest’s fertile earth. I’ve come to decide that all battles not only do not need to be fought, they don’t need to be won or lost. There are other choices, other ways of being in the world.
These days we’re hearing a lot about fear. To feel fear we have to be afraid of something. It saddens me the number of times I’ve heard people say they are afraid to put up signs supporting their candidates for elected office. The United States is considered a free country and people have fought and died for those freedoms. At the Café, several of us shared our elation at casting our election ballots. Today, there are 50 countries in the world that are dictatorships where people are not free. To participate in and enjoy our freedoms in the U.S. we have agreed we can have civil public discourse, that everyone can be heard, and we have choice. No matter what we may feel about the state of things at the moment, what I know is that any path to these freedoms has to begin within me.
If we arrive at our deathbeds with resentments, grudges, anger and hurt are we free? At a recent Death Café someone related the story of his wife being in just that situation. Feeling hurt, carrying woundedness is a common human experience. It shouldn’t be surprising to consider that we die as we’ve lived. The point is do we want to? What will that look and feel like? The devoted husband was able to help his dying wife work through her issues as she let go into the peace and beauty of being fully herself and free. Not an easy task at any stage of life.
This week’s movie pick is “Blackbird,” with Susan Sarandon.