Saturday, August 31, 2013

What is Essential to the Heart





Today my sister called me for comfort; her seventeen year old grandson had been killed in a car accident the night before. I was shocked at the news and felt inadequately prepared to be of service to her. I heard myself saying -- words meant to comfort and yet meaningless really.

Avery was a handsome young man, just preparing to start University this autumn. I prayed with her and continue to pray for her but truly words are not enough in a case like this. 

I know that life is eternal and that Avery's life continues but the fact that he will no longer show up on his grandma's doorstep (in a recognizable form that she can see and hug),  is a cold, hard  fact! I listened to my sister's heart-breaking, sobs of grief. And I cried too.

When I called my mom to let her know, she just kept repeating, "I don't know what to say." Sometimes we feel inadequate and don't extend our heartfelt condolences. Sometimes we tell ourselves that we cannot help make a difference. Yet our very being makes the difference.

It is true of the human condition that we will have times when we don't know what to say. Perhaps there are no right words to say. Perhaps we had never imagined being in such an experience. 

Antoine de Saint Exupery, in The Little Prince wrote: "Here is my secret. It is very simple: It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye."

I love this little book and included a portion of it in the video above. Everything that we have taken the time to love, we have tamed and are responsible for. When my sister was a newborn, I remember promising that I would love her and always protect her from life's thorns. I haven't really been able to do that. It wasn't really mine to do. What has always been mine to do is to love her. 

Every guru, spiritual master, minister, rabbi or teacher has taught that everything begins and ends in love. When we are filled with love we are not filled with worry. When we are filled with love, we compassionately care for ourselves and each other. What is essential to the heart is inaudible to the ears as well. We hear with the inner ear.

Come to those moments when your friends or loved ones are suffering,with love, a shoulder to cry on and a listening heart. That will be enough.

When something unthinkable happens, what do you do? How do you handle it?