(A picture of tragedy and hope. The little boy’s dad died before he was born, and his mom died 3 days after his birth. He is now being cared for by his grandmother who came to me because someone told her I would help.)
I shed a tear today, in fact, I cried a lot for myself while contemplating the past three years and the many more before that I have seemingly been wandering alone in a desert wondering who I am and what I am doing. Its not the first time crying, rather it has been part of my life since I remember, usually for someone else’s lonely journey.
There was a time after my mother died that I didn’t cry at all for many years but that changed with another major upheaval in my own life that started this journey. They say that such eruptions shift you from the path you are on to where life wants you to go.
I wrote a similar piece in 1998 about tears (attached) relating to an incident with a young woman Vera from Kenya whom I met at a conference in Switzerland. Someone she knew sought me out as she was destitute, perhaps soon to be deported back to Kenya and needed help.
I was living in Scotland at the time and managed to sponsor her on a tourist visa hoping to get her more permanent status. It became an impossible task. I later went back to Canada brought her there and that was even less successful.
The day I wrote that article was after a morning meeting arranged with a Kenya man who was well educated, including a Doctorate in Theology who was now living in Scotland. My understanding was that he could help, instead he told her to return home as she was making it bad for others who were more qualified and had a better chance.
Her continued efforts eventually paid a dividend as she ended up in South Africa where she met her future husband, a German. He arranged to take her home to Germany where they were kinder and gave her a visa. She worked hard, married and had two children and latterly became a nurse. Hers wasn’t an easy life but proved the point I had made in this earlier article that everyone, no matter their status in life, deserved the gentle touch of a breath of kindness.
Its been an interesting journey, bleak at times, but then usually an oasis appears that nurtures the soul, quietens the mind and rejuvenates the spirit. However, for me these havens of calm only last a short time before I must continue the long lonely trek across the arid sands of life.
Tears have always been important to me, but growing up in a world where boys were not to cry often caused me stress and taunts from others. At my age it matters not any more what anyone thinks, and the tears are more frequent. This day though it was different as the tears were mostly for me because this area of desert appears bleaker and there are no oases, at least not yet.
When I look at the perilous state of our world there is the realization that I am lost in a sphere where darkness prevails, and light appears to be only available to those who have conquered the world with self-aggrandization. I sit here and weep for an earth filled with a darkness created by those who would have it all while the rest are shrouded from the abundance of light that life has to offer.
I cry for the children who suffer, the adults who despair and the babies being born into places of living hell that the few have created and continue to perpetrate and wonder how and where it will all end. It is simple for me as at my age the end is in sight no matter how long or short it will be. Age comes with the faint hope that there is somewhere outside this life where there is a light, a warmth and comfort that will erase the hurts, the sorrows and tragedies that we have witnessed and in our own lives, a life in comparison to so many others which has been full of privilege.
There is still the challenge, the anguish and despair of “what can I do”. I care, help and am concerned about what I see, feel and experience. I get taken in by a few that waste my time, small resources and my love. It is such a small price to pay for the privileges that I have enjoyed overall in my life. The rest somehow accept my limits, my gifts and my heart.
It is never enough and there is never enough to fill the holes left by those who would possess, confiscate and steal from all the others. Yes, I cry tears, I despair and am weighted, yet hope that one day I can make a difference and help to heal the hurts and the despair felt by others.
I am reminded that my own hurts still remain, painful memories surface at times exposing my own deep-down despair. What to do only cry, shed tears and hold fast to what I am doing, which without a firmer base is nebulous, not assured and any organizational foundation appears in the distance. There is no oasis in sight, only a familiar glimmer of light.
Behind the tears there is an inner anger about the inequities, the gaps and the distance between those that have and those who have nothing. I do know full well that the tears and what I have written only point out the inequalities but do not solve the problems, remove the hurt nor destroy the fears that are a constant reminder of how little control that we have.
I shed a tear today and cried a lot for those without, but most of all for my own inability to have an impact on the despair that fills my eyes, weighs my soul and saddens my heart in a world confiscated by so few. All the while the majority sit by waiting and praying and hoping someone else: a deity, government or the next charismatic leader will come and fix what has been broken by human greed.
The reality is that the world was created perfect and humanity came filled with love and the ability to unfold the perfection that has been provided. Yet people surround themselves with artificial comforts, false love and rail against those so poor that they want a better life than the destitution they experience. Instead of sharing and offering hope those with abundance make laws, send the police and military to stop them, starve them and eventually kill them to protect what they have.
These are poor humans who only want a life. The world, despite its abuse by humanity, still provides plenty to share. Why is it so hard for people to understand that even those most poor deserve the gentle touch of a breath of kindness?
Written by William (Bill) Pardy
September 08, 2019
Tears – Life’s release
I shed a tear today, in fact, I cried a lot. My tears were for the marginalised, disadvantaged all those who experience despair. They were, perhaps as well, for my own inadequacies in influencing the systems that create such disparities. How deeply I relate to such feelings in my own aloneness/loneliness. The tears were not of sadness but of release in knowing that there are others who share the same feelings and others who have experienced life’s anguish.
I had experience this morning to bear witness to two stories, as different as could be, but as alike as possible. One was of foreign domination, the other of family alienation, one of educational wealth, the other of educational deprivation, both the results of colonisation and subjugation. Colonisation at its roots is more than possession and ownership but of cultural alienation and is not only the experience of those have been dominated by foreigners but those who have felt the sting of rejection from their own. The results were the same; a sense of loss, of not fitting and of the need to make amends to all those who follow behind. Then there was the expressed need to make life better for others to contribute and to somehow compensate for the perceived inadequacies of those that went before. I related to both and knew that I was a part of something that I am yet to understand. Were we kindred spirits, marginalised minorities or just lonely people adrift in a world where the fit was non-existent?
I listened to the words of wisdom offered years ago by a Bishop to a person, who at the time, was depressed at the state of his own people as a result of government and church colonisation, both done under the guise of good and God. Advice, which suggested that the answer, as to why this happened, lay in an understanding that would come with age and one’s own responsibility. The guidance suggested that when one became responsible for others, the key was to look for the spark and with gentle breath kindle the glow of life. It was inferred that spark was a sign of leadership and leadership was so important to societal development.
I thought about this as the morning wore on and the tears flowed. I wondered, were the only people with worth, those that had a visible spark, who could glow with a gentle breath of air and lead the others to some promised glory. Or, if indeed, did everyone, even those whose spark was so weakened that it was not visible, deserve the gentle touch of a breath of kindness. Do we have to have in a society the elite who lead the rest? Or, should we strive for an ideal equality where everyone has opportunity to have their spark kindled, their brightness amplified, and their flame enlivened. Do we really need to relegate those that are somehow diminished to the backwater of despair, drive them from society and erase them from our conscious memory? All this, because we need to demonstrate our state of egalitarianism and our societal advancement. Is this not the reason why historically all supposedly advanced societies collapsed?
What price will we pay if we continue on this path started a few centuries ago, a path of repression, cleansing and deprivation? We condemn it in the modern world when others blatantly practice it, but we refuse to recognise our more historically refined and subtler methods. I witnessed two individuals this morning struggling with their price. I have felt the experience in my own life. And, I felt the wrath of another this afternoon as my car was wilfully damaged by another less fortunate, deprived, and perhaps depraved individual. This is a small price for me to pay for someone else’s despair but a microcosm of a societal dividend that we can expect if we don’t face the rot of marginalisation that is growing by the day locally, nationally and internationally. Increasingly, stringent barriers are being erected between the have and have-nots of the world. But we must always remember there is more of the latter and their deprivation will eventually cause rebellion. I wonder, as money and consumerism are failing as weapons of repression are the elites reverting to deprivation of education (or what is termed education) as the new control mechanism.
Yes, I shed a tear today and cried a lot for a world of so much plenty assigned to an elite few, who for reasons of arrogance and fear, continue to hoard and control, as if in the end it would make a difference to themselves. The tears were a cleansing of course, of my own arrogance of plenty that I have experienced and of my own rebellion towards those that have tried and would marginalise me. And today perhaps, for the first time, I realised that tears are life’s cleansing solution to rinse the bitterness and despair from the soul, just as the rain washes away the refuge and blight from the earth, making way for and nurturing the new growth that is hidden just underneath the old, worn and unnecessary.
Written by William (Bill) Pardy
October 25, 1998