Last night my friend and I went to Together Live in Denver, along with over a thousand other women and a few brave men. It was breathtakingly inspiring, mostly because of the headliner Glennon Doyle Melton, author of the wildly successful book Love Warrior. The point of the whole event was to take advantage of this chaotic, divisive political climate, and use the contrast to launch a collective dream of inclusive community on a grand scale, where differences are cherished, and love reigns. Many things were said that pierced me in that place of truth, but one idea that Glennon offered stands out. She said we are all here to Create and to Serve. And many people ask her - how do I know what I'm supposed to create or who I am supposed to serve? The answer lies in two important questions to ask yourself: 1. Who are you envious of? Whose work can you not bear to look at because you wish you had done it? That is what you are here to create. 2. What breaks your heart? Is is oppression? Kids dying of preventable diseases? That is where you can serve. Go toward that and meet other people with the same passion who are doing good honest work - those are your peeps!
Glennon's other message was that our culture teaches us to avoid pain and heartbreak- but going through that fire is where all the treasure lies. When we shield our children from pain - thinking that's our job - we've got the job description dead wrong. Pain is what shapes a Whole-Hearted adult, one that is brave and kind and authentic. Our job is to model courage to our kids when things are hard, and assure them that they can handle the hard things too, that you are right there beside them.
The take-away of the evening for me was this: Every one of us is important and useful, as Mary Oliver says each of us is "a lion of courage, and something precious to the earth". Cherish everyone. Look for ways to include people who because of their skin color or sexual orientation or age are overlooked, judged wrongly, or are the target of violence. Take the risk of breaking your own heart to be the person who confronts the pain of a divided world, and by doing so, make more joy for you and everyone. I leave you with these words from Mary Oliver. Peace out peeps.
When Death Comes
by Mary Oliver
When death comes
like the hungry bear in autumn;
when death comes and takes all the bright coins from his purse
to buy me, and snaps the purse shut;
when death comes
like the measles-pox;
when death comes
like an iceberg between the shoulder blades,
I want to step through the door full of curiosity, wondering:
what is it going to be like, that cottage of darkness?
And therefore I look upon everything
as a brotherhood and a sisterhood,
and I look upon time as no more than an idea,
and I consider eternity as another possibility,
and I think of each life as a flower, as common
as a field daisy, and as singular,
and each name a comfortable music in the mouth
tending as all music does, toward silence,
and each body a lion of courage, and something
precious to the earth.
When it’s over, I want to say: all my life
I was a bride married to amazement.
I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.
When it is over, I don’t want to wonder
if I have made of my life something particular, and real.
I don’t want to find myself sighing and frightened,
or full of argument.
I don’t want to end up simply having visited this world.