He remembers the scene inside the tank - his hat being blown off, being aware that three of his friends were dead, seeing another colleague struggling as her body armour constricted her airway, and getting up to help - thinking that his back was sore. We are so proud of him.
I wrote last time of how "real" this story was - and it is - it's happening to us right now. And your comments so eloquently expressed that feeling of connectedness. But since then, I suppose have been in a bit of a bubble. I have no idea how many more people have died as a result of conflict - how many more families have had their lives put on hold because of the loss or wounding of a loved one - how many more young people are now facing a life with debilitating injuries, mental health trauma or issues we will never know about. They do not become part of my reality. I see newsbites on TV - read a few columns in a newspaper, or notice it "trending" online. I feel sadness and distress for those involved, but then we are moved on to the next story. It has to be that way, because we could not bear such sorrow...
We would be so overcome with grief and anger that we would all rise up in a fury and demand an end to it - make it end! We would be outraged every time we heard of our brothers and sisters killed or injured somewhere in the world. Grief-stricken every time we heard our children being described as "collateral damage". Beside ourselves with anger and sadness whenever our mothers and fathers were forced to flee their homes with only the clothes on their backs - and sometimes a bullet there too. Wouldn't we?
So -can love save the world? Maybe - but right now I think we need more than that. We need real, righteous, loving anger, and I am angry! Angry about all these wars and my greed that causes them. I am angry at the loss of so many wild and precious lives*, just because they happen to be lived in the wrong place. I am angry that our very home is being lost to us all. How did I let that happen on my watch? I am angry that I am killing other creatures with my waste and sloth. I am angry because for years I have allowed myself to just move on to the next story.
I am angry - and I suppose that is better than just being sad.
But - even writing this, I am overwhelmed at the magnitude of it all. The sheer size of the problems that I have helped create. What possible solutions are there? How can I make a difference to any of this? Sure, I can "like" a few posts on facebook, or retweet a couple of links. I can read blog posts and books, watch videos and nod my head until it falls off.
Already I feel myself slipping from anger to despair.
And that is how it works.
That is why we are in this mess.
And because it isn't directly affecting my reality right now
I can allow myself the luxury of despondency
I have no idea where I am going with this - it is all still too fuzzy. All I can do for now is to put it out there -
to pray to hope, to love
and to try and stay angry.
* “Tell me, what is it you plan to dowith your one wild and precious life?”