Friday, July 1, 2016
I do not know what I can learn from this sickening atrocity, or how I will love my life, spend this day, and also deal with these feelings of sadness and rage. But I am beginning to know what I might learn from Betty Reid Soskin, the person. I did not even know this woman existed--this 94 year old park ranger, the world's oldest park ranger. When I read her story, and how she escaped, locked herself in bathroom, plugged in an iron and stood ready to brand the bastard--I knew she had courage. Not a survivor!!! But a liver and lover of life and justice! An exemplar of compassion and wisdom. read her amazing blog. Looking on her most recent Facebook post, I saw evidence of a world of support and love and appreciation--but also frightening hints that this is not just the random strike of a random devil, but a targetted hate crime and definitely a #blacklivesmatter issue of racist malice. Less than two weeks ago, she had been highly vocal about invasion of privacy and inappropriate feedback on social media, and she had been vocal about Orlando. And I know in my bones she will continue to be so. Some are more frightened and paralyzed by the aftershocks of trauma and violence than others, but this woman teaches me that fear will not be my master. And that wisdom is necessary--one can not go about spewing hatred and rage or venting one's emotions, but a true response is called for! And this is what she offers. This woman has lived her life in response to life--in response to the sickness and twisted ways of humans, as well as in response to the beauty and love of humans and nature. SHE HAS LIVED and LOVED. I do not know her faith or spiritual beliefs--but I would like to know, because I WANT WHAT SHE HAS. The most powerful thing I can do with my sadness and rage and sense of horror and powerlessness today --is not to preach to the choir or make idiot proclamations of what I will or should do, but to continue to live my life with love, gratitude and as much humility as I can muster. To say today that I stand with those who are marginalized and victims of hate and racism, not out of pity, but out of recognition and as a fellow human walking toward light and freedom. Betty Reid Soskin should be commemorated on a coin. They may have robbed her of her beautiful coin, but no one can steal one drop of the gold that she shares with others all day long.