The Hunger of the Wolf

I have been saving the words of one of those I treasure from a group out of San Diego.
I really have had little knowledge or even energy of how I was supposed to respond to recent events. I have felt completely inadequate to assemble the words. I don’t think I could offer solace, if I should even offer solace or comfort.

Some have said no. No solace. Keep the wound raw. Allow the wound to be fresh and we will be able to move forward, if we keep the pain open and unavoidable.

I asked for these words from Sly because she was one of the few that dealt with this event on a human level, on an individual level, without incorporating the politics of international hate or even the separation of beliefs.

In my view, she kept it real.

Please read and comment. I post her words following and my response separated by asterisks.
Thank you Sly and Thank you Reader.

********************************************************************

wolfSly

Like so many others, the tragedy that took place in Orlando this weekend has left me completely heartbroken. This heartache was compounded by watching political discourse turning into personal attacks and reading heinous Facebook posts placing blame on Muslims or the LGBTQ community. Depression veiled the beginning of this week as I struggled with feeling impotent, helpless, and hopeless. It was from that place of powerlessness that I began to question myself, my believes, my passions, and the places in my life were I put the most effort. Then I was reminded of the Cherokee story of Two Wolves.

An old Cherokee is teaching his grandson about life. “A fight is going on inside me,” he said to the boy. “It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil – he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.” He continued, “The other is good – he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The same fight is going on inside you – and inside every other person, too.”
The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, “Which wolf will win?”
The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.”

In remembering this I knew, like each of you, I always have power in the choice of which wolf I feed. Will I give in to my anger, resentment and pity, or will I choose to continue on from a place of love, kindness, and compassion. I ask that you consider your power as well in choosing how you carry on. The way we choose to be in our own lives ripples out and effects everyone.

We cannot know the struggle of another. We cannot know the pain of the person being berated in a comments section. We cannot know the anguish of the person who is the object of our road rage. We cannot know the torment of someone who cancels plans at the last minute, takes too long at the ATM, steals from us, injures us, or robs us of our peace. The only way to end the cycle of violence is to greet everyone we encounter from a place of love and hope.

The change we so desperately need cannot occur overnight through passing a law or dropping a bomb. The problems of the present were created over centuries of suffering and as such will take time to change. THEY CAN CHANGE but only through an intentional shift in our collective consciousness toward goodness. Each of us has an equal part and, I dare say, responsibly in this.

So, if you are feeling that sense of helplessness that I did, please understand you are infinitely and inalienably powerful. What you do is essential to the future of humanity. If you think I’m full of shit, I hope one day you come around and I still love you.

Which wolf will you feed?
***************************************************
Stuart Welch

Sly, Thank you.

You know I try to write. I try to write new perspectives and free verse, some fiction and just words about the world I see out my windows.
But during the last few days I have returned to looking inside into a blankness, to looking at an undrenchable fire.

I am lost and, (I Know… hard to believe) I just don’t know what to write.

We don’t need more pain. We don’t need more anger. We don’t need sorrow. It is so confusing.

After 9/11, many of the late night talk show comedians went off the air. When David Letterman came back on, he had a newsman, Dan Rather, who had been covering the events around 9/11 since it began.
He started to recite a stanza from America the Beautiful and broke down into tears and the only thing you could hear was a broken man saying

“I will never be able to hear those words again.”

He continued sobbing and they broke for a commercial. When they came back, he apologized for his grief and said

“We have lost the war without firing a shot” and continued on by saying that he was a professional newsman and should not be overcome by the events he had the responsibility to report. He felt he should not have cried.

When Rachel Maddow said the other night that ISIS had informed their supporters to not come to the battlefield, but to stay where they were and cause mass death and confusion and fear and terror to a point where neighbor is in fear of neighbor. That would be the best action the supporter could take. And I knew then that there was little way to stop those who are guided by hate, who thirst for blood and like so many other religions, believe that the reward lies beyond this reality and non- believers were less than animals.

I think at that point…my heart sank. There is no way that I can imagine to stop those around us that want to destroy as they did in Orlando, or Newtown or New York or San Bernandino or Paris or even in Washington D.C. or the voting booths of America.

The monster was out.

There was no way to put it back and my heart sank. I could run. Bunny and I could run but we would still be in this dimension on this earth.

I don’t know which wolf I am. I am maybe the lost wolf. The frightened wolf. The wolf that just doesn’t know.

Thank you for your words.

**************************************************

Sly 

It pains me to hear of your struggle, Stuart, but I believe that it is one you are not alone in. I have always known you to be an insightful being of light and as the freshness of this wound heals you will have greater perspective to share with those that most need it. The tides may have shifted in the direction of evil this time but if people like you and me continue to chose being hopeful, to chose loving each other and to keep making that choice despite the actions of others we will find that place of peace (or at least inner peace).

****************************************

Stuart Welch

I was hitch-hiking late at night on the highway north of London. It was cold and raining. A giant rain yellow slicker came down the on-ramp and we both stuck out our thumbs for a ride.
One thing I remember is that the fellow from Scotland told me “These things were sent to try us.”
We got a ride to Trafalgar Square in the center of London. The rain changed to the most intense Thunder and lightning I have ever experienced. I wandered the rest of the night until I got to my hotel and have lived my life to this point so far.
Thank you.

***************************************************************
Postscript

I have since had to remind myself to unwrap myself from what I thought I knew: that the Orlando shooter had been guided by the mis-guided ravings of ISIS. I had to remind myself that the shooter was a sick individual who spent his life in pain and fear and terror. That since his early days in school, he had a history of striking out, of being isolated from those around him, of suspensions from school and expulsions.
He certainly was not drawn to ISIS at that point. He was in need of help and our system only seemed to make his situations worse. And then gave him a gun.
He had chosen his wolf and it was only a matter of time until someone…or several someones faced his hate, his fear and his gun.

Trust me. I know that ISIS is far from a rational just cause. Isis is a perversion. But this person fell to them because they offered the only escape from his anger and fear.
I thank Sly for Sharing.

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