How Would You Feel If You Were There? A Reflection and Opportunity for Discernment Among People for and with the Light By Lorna J. Hines

And if the perils of the world are insufficient, during one recent week I was faced with three experiences which propelled me to write these words which I openly share with those of you I cherish. Three important experiences I had all in one week that I believe despite the unpleasantness and at times painful emotions, opened my humanity and built my spiritual resource muscle to withstand not being able to immediately “fix” a challenge.

And so the story begins with the sharing of an experience from someone who is a clergy person, and is endeared and loved by many including myself. Both she and I reside in a multi cultural and diverse community both in terms of ethnic, racial, sexual orientation, and other areas of diversity. She mentioned being by the library and a car behind her kept honking the horn despite the fact she moved over to permit his passing. To quickly remedy the situation she got out of her car to query and was met by a man wearing a mark of his faith-yarmulke where upon his uttered being tired of the “niggers in this town”. I was devastated hearing the story and re lived circumstances where I was called that name. Andrew Hatcher, stellar historian who wrote a wonderful book entitled, “Two Nations: Black and White Separate, Hostile and Unequal”, with empathy and eloquence discussed that horrid word and the memories, visions and emotions it brings up when people, not only African-Americans hear that word.

An hour or so after that horrific experience, I witnessed the disintegration of a family right before my eyes. This was a family composed of five children, many with special needs, and their mother, who was trying to work double and triple shifts to care for their family. During my walk to my car I notice the mother and children in a parking lot. She was yelling, crying and screaming in a state of hysteria and resignation-not knowing where to go next. Fairly recently, her husband and father of the children was picked up after being flagged for in the scheme of things a not so big event and was summarily brought to a detention center where he remains. It is likely he will be deported. I am not sure what will happen with this family. I intervened as best as I could during the chaos doing what one does best in a crisis situation. Their plight and challenge has remained with me.

Last but not least I watched the movie “Dunkirk” depicting a period in history that I am not fully acquainted with. The story line was not as important as the emotions, thoughts and feelings expressed by these stellar writers, directors and actors. I was so impacted by their desire to survive and hopefully return to their families in a situation of war that negated that possibility. I think various emotions people exhibit have taught me so many things about the universality of being human. In this particular circumstance, these soldiers could have been any color or salute any flag, They all were frightened, trauma impacted, full of hopelessness, sadness and despair.

So what do all these musing teach us? Some of you might say these are just recollections and writings from a woman who is growing old and needs to just chill. I pray that you don’t but rather begin to see the humanity in people and experiences around us. I believe these glimpses increase our capacity as mediums, healers, and intuitives. We cannot hide from the lives and the experiences of the people around us who may seek our help, understanding, and insight and yes the balm we offer when needed. I have often seen we avoid these types of discussion finding it easier to explore spiritual writings and the utterances of wise people. I think those are important pursuits but it is also important to expose ourselves to the turmoil and pain our sitters and perhaps ourselves suffer. Is it possible that the trauma those around us suffer increases our capacity to be in synergy with their humanness and our capacity to help? Is it also possible that feeling and understanding suffering brings us closer to the light that develops and sustains us? I wish to suggest that the adage, “if you can’t stand the heat get out of the kitchen” may be helpful. While I believe we can’t hide from the truth of turmoil and suffering we must find meaningful ways to address and assuage our capacity to handle that pain. It may mean networking, development groups that focus also on helping us to take care of our needs. There is lots of information regarding vicarious traumatization and ways in which compassion fatigue can be addressed.

However, I do feel within my heart and mind we need to be open to the opportunities to learn, to be informed and to experience the human condition before us. Objectification of suffering people, denial and avoidance, negatively impacts our fundamental teachings of love and compassion.

What would you do or feel if you would be there?

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