“What do sad people have in common? It seems they have all built a shrine to the past and often go there and do a strange wail and worship. What is the beginning of happiness? It is to stop being so religious like that.” ~ Hafiz

‘It is to stop being so religious like that.’ Wonderfully put.

Because we tend, in an effort to be loyal to our pain, our hurt, our feeling that we were wronged, to, ‘often go back there and do a strange wail and worship.’ We beat the drum – again. And whenever the beat seems to grow too faint, out of love for what we lost, we beat it again. We are religious like that.

Unfortunately what we end up worshipping is not our lost piece (peace), as we might have intended, but rather, what hurt or ‘damaged’ us. We think all that devotion is going to what was lost, when it’s actually going to what took it from us.

Recovery and redemption are hard, don’t get me wrong, because we are operating on the assumption that you (or I) were wounded (skin sliced open, bones broken, muscle tissue torn). But keeping our attention on the knife or fist that did the deed, which, as Hafiz rightly points out, is in fact a moment in time, now in the past – not getting past this moment in time, is really not the best way to say you care. And it makes sacred what hurt you.

It may be an act of love to commiserate with the pain and injustice, but love can do better. Love can do the really hard thing of getting past the moment, of letting something actually heal, so that we might have a shot in hell of making something more of our beloved’s legacy than brutality, pain and injustice.

Why not love the piece you lost enough to not let devastation be the last word on the subject? What about sparing your beloved the additional tragedy of being a waste, of having ‘died’ for nothing? What about making something good out of it? We, each of us, have the power to do this. And in fact when it comes to our losses, and our pain, we are the only person in the world that could do this: that could transform our wounds and our tragedies into a force of Good. I’ll say it again: it’s hard. It’s super hard. It’s a spiritual (and not primarily physical or mental) task after all.

Can you love whatever it is you are worshipping enough that you stop worshipping the moment that took it from you? (Take justice out of it – that’s not why it happened in the first place.)

Can you love your lost piece enough that you turn this moment into something other, something more than a wound? (Like the moment that changed everything – first yourself, and then the world.)

Can you honor the pain enough to allow it to break your heart open, – instead of just leaving it broken?

Maybe these would be better ways to say we care? Surely they’d be sweeter to our beloved than weakness, anger, shame and/or indignance, on their behalf, no?