It’s raining this morning. There is no need for rain here in Keene, New Hampshire. There is snow here, and there is ice; there is wet stuff on everything. I’m thinking about Australia, and the uncontainable blazes, and the animals, and the people, and I’m so, so sad that I cannot displace today’s rain from here to there.
Sometimes there is little that we can do.
In the therapy room, a topic that comes up frequently is the pain that accompanies being unable to act – even going through the motions as though we are doing something feels more tolerable than sitting with the knowledge of doing nothing. This is especially true when there are literal fires in front of our eyes, and we have no means with which to put them out.
There was a story about the filming of the documentary Planet Earth that described the anguish felt by the camera operators filming a band of elephants. They had agreed not to intercede with any natural happenings, whether they judged them to be good, bad or otherwise, but still felt compelled to act when a young elephant wandered away from the others and became lost. They watched helplessly while the elephant walked further away from the others, likely to its demise, likely alone and scared. They honored their agreement and did not help the elephant, and it tore their hearts in half.
I bet that they’re still thinking about that elephant. I am.
There is something to be said for allowing nature to take its course, and for accepting things as they are. But there is also the mighty force of the human impulse to act, to do something, to alleviate pain and to stand up to the bully, to fix the problem. To put out the fires.
Today I am sitting with pain of being unable to put out the fires in Australia, and of acknowledging my own smallness in this giant world. I also acknowledge my relentless inner flame that compels me to love and to heal and to fight, when I can, where I am equipped to and able. There is no shortage of pain everywhere; there are many, many pains to attend to, down the street and in the therapy room and on the other side of the world. I will do my share of healing in this place.
I am sitting with the injustice of this rain. And I am trying to do my part.