Thursday, June 11, 2009

Beauty, Despite Injustice

Today is a picture perfect, gorgeous, sunny, breezy day. It was calling to me. I took the dogs to the park for a nice, long walk. It's a wonderful park and I always feel peaceful and centered there. It's a place where I can think. There is a dirt path that circles it, it's about a mile around. There are always joggers and people walking, and women pushing baby strollers and lots of dogs. A young girl will stretch out on a towel in the grass and read a book. Ducks and geese waddle about the tiny pond in the center of the park. Huge trees stand here and there while squirrels race up and down the trunks. One or two homeless men can be seen sitting on a bench, their worn bicycles leaning against a nearby tree. There is a huge rose garden on one side, the colors and fragrance grabbing you by the eyes and nose as you walk past. Sometimes an aspiring artist will sit under a tree with an easel, painting. It's really quite wonderful.

So today I walked. In one of the open grassy fields a soccer game was going on. More than a dozen grown men, in uniforms even, ran and hollered at their teammates and chased the ball. The ball got away as I neared and rolled across the dirt path about 20 feet in front of me. One of the players was right behind it, stopping it expertly with his foot, looking over his shoulder and calling back to his friends.

I watched as joggers passed me, huffing, ipods in their ears. Two young women pushed baby strollers side by side, one had a double stroller. They chatted, although I couldn't hear what they talked about. My own dogs skipped happily along, trying to dart after an occasional squirrel and excited to meet other dogs.

I suddenly became acutely aware of the fact that the world is such an unjust place. In this park, I can have these thoughts. I feel safe thinking about such things and exploring my emotions, because I feel so open and serene there.

Watching those men play soccer on a sunny Thursday afternoon, I badly wished my friend's husband could be there playing soccer. Instead he is in the hospital, 6 months post brain tumor surgery, trying now to recover from a blood infection, hydrocephalus, spinal compression fractures and God knows what else. How I wished he could be running carelessly in the sun, chasing a soccer ball. Why can they play freely while he suffers in the hospital? It seemed so unjust.

Watching the young women push the baby strollers, crossing the street out of the park and into the quite well to do neighborhood, chatting lightly, I thought of so many of my bloggy friends, and myself, aching and struggling and paying and praying and riding the horrendous roller coaster that is IF, all in hopes of having babies to push in a stroller. Why is it so easy for some and insurmountable for others? It seems so unjust.

Watching (from the corner of my eye) the homeless men sitting on the park bench, their grizzled faces, filthy clothes and wild stringy hair blowing about in the wind, I thought of a former co-worker of mine. She wears religion and faith on her sleeve like a piece of ostentatious jewelry. She goes around announcing to everyone, all the time, how "blessed" she is (which always seems to starkly contrast with the facts of some nearby person's life, intimating how "un-blessed" they must be). Currently she is "so blessed" to have bought a 3,200 sf "resort" home (her words) at a rock-bottom-price foreclosure sale. She's having an open house to show off the gourmet kitchen, soaring ceilings, in-ground pool surrounding by bowing palm trees, gorgeously manicured acreage and everything else. Is she so much more worthy of blessings than those homeless men? It does not seem just.

How can life be so unbalanced? So unfair? I mean, I know life is not fair. It's an axiom. But doesn't everything equal out eventually? It has to, doesn't it?

From some long ago physics class I remember the principle: For every action, there is an opposite and equal reaction.

That must be true, right? For every suffering, mustn't there be a joy? For every loss, surely there must be a gain? It can't be true that some people are endowed with all the blessings, can it? I think of men spending years in prisons for crimes they did not commit. Where is their justice?

These thoughts reached into me and shook me to the core, as the sun shone and dogs walked and the men kicked their soccer ball.

Did you see the movie A.merican B.eauty? One of the characters is a teenage boy who is regularly beaten by his father. There is a scene where the boy tells his girlfriend he wants to show her something really beautiful - some video footage he shot with his camcorder. The video plays. It shows a small paper bag, outside, trapped in a corner of a building. The wind blows and the paper bag leaps into the air, twirling and twisting and dancing again and again. The boy's eyes gleam as he watches it. He says something like (paraphrasing): There is so much beauty in the world that sometimes I feel my heart will burst because I can barely take so much beauty. Despite his father's cruelty, he was able to find joy in the small movement of the paper bag.

Maybe that's the only way to get through difficulties and come to terms with all the injustice. By focusing on the little pieces of beauty around us. By accepting them and finding joy in them and letting all the bad stuff go out of focus. A beautiful day, a blue sky, a cool breeze. These are beautiful. A rose garden and waddling ducks. Pink puppy tongues and the sound of a friend's voice. My DH's warm embrace. Perhaps these are the beautiful things that will fill my heart and keep me from going insane thinking about all the injustice. But I know it is out there.

I guess a heart can burst either way, can't it?

Please tell me about some little beautiful thing in your life that makes your heart burst with joy.


IVF 40+ said...

I am reading your blog with an old cat asleep on one
leg and another old cat gazing at me. We have been a little tribe for about ten years now. Whenever I am sick or have a nightmare one of them jumps up and snuggles close.
They make me happy. Very happy.

Sandra D. said...

What a beautiful post. I often think about a) how unjust the world is; b) what I have to be thankful for. My heart burst with joy tonight when my DH came to the humane society yet again with me to see another dog. And even though we didn't leave with one, it was amazing that he was willing to do this - yet again. Whenever I'm feeling horrible about babies, puppies etc., he always understands and says "What can I do." Thanks so much for reminding me to be thankful :-)

tireegal68 said...

wow - fantastic post! I wish I could think of something to add to the beauty but I am feeling so mad at the world now that it's really hard. I do know what it is like to stare evil in the face and corruption and unfairness that cannot be mitigated and it is not pretty when you realize that bad things do happen to good people.
Okay - I thanked the goddess coming home tonight to my sweetheart after a meeting at work that was full of self-righteous imbeciles. Thank god i have someone special and loving sane and wonderful in my life - or I would think it really was meaningless. Wish I could be more cheerful - loved your post though;)

Anonymous said...

I feel little bursts of joy when one thing happens to correct all those horrible unjust things in life. Every now and then, something right and fair happens. And that makes it all worth it to me.

looking4#3 said...

My husband and I went through a really, really rough period when we were dating. We broke up. It looked like it would never work. To say I was crushed doesn't even do it justice. I KNEW I was meant to be with him. He needed time. Obviously, we are here and it did work. But, when I look at him, when I think of where we are, my heart could explode with the love I feel for this man!! (and also, because I was right, and I knew it all along!!!)

cindyhoo2 said...

I love this post! Truly life is both wonderful and terrible in equal measures.

Last night I woke up at 1AM and could not stop my head from racing. I got out of bed quietly and began creeping into the living room. My partner stopped me by saying, "If you come back to bed, I'll rub your back." She did, for about 20 minutes. I felt like a well-loved princess and drifted back to sleep easily. I am so thankful for the small moments of bliss and for having someone special to hold my hand as I walk through life

Anonymous said...

Ugh, my feeds didn't update so I'm just seeing this post now. I wish I would have seen it last week when you wrote it. What a great, fantastic post! My pooches are what make me smile most frequently and can pick me up out of the dumps no matter how low I'm feeling.