Sometimes, change happens with such a slothful lack of urgency that it twists me in knots of pent-up energy for what I wish to be. Sometimes, change lays the barest of taps on my shoulder before sharply cleaving me from the life I called mine; an intake of breath, not yet let out.
I am pensive like this because death came to our extended family this week, bringing gut-wrenching sorrow about a life taken, one we were not ready to give up. Sharing grief with others is too vulnerable an experience for many, and by many, I mean me. I lack a certain comprehension of the stoic and hoisting stoicism in the face of death-grief is deeply disturbing to me; I would rather cry and am more trusting of those who do.
Gordy, my beloved, first shed tears of sorrow with me when my old dog, Scooter, died. The years continue to allot their losses and our growing sea of shared tears knits us even more closely together. We cry to give fair due to what has happened, to grant the sadness a river out. The tears were so great this weekend that they replaced words and yet I know that the truest part of our tribe understood because they were full-up with their own vulnerability, the vulnerability death creates.
The truth is that investing in the ability to make change is my kick-back to the fact that change doesn’t ask my permission.
Cricket is here because of that.
So is Pudge.
And now, Miss Muppet.
These are beloved creatures of the great Universe treated so cruelly by humans that hope was snuffed out.
You see, I have become a part of a thin fabric of people willing to stand in the swampy aftermath of these dark acts in order to grant hope a chance, to make change happen. It is hard, hard work, coaxing light and love into the body and soul of a wounded animal. It is gentle work, persistent work. Making change like this is a shared process and, like shared tears, it knits you together–the healer and the wounded, the wounded and the healer. You never fully retrieve your heart before you are called to give it out again.
It is a version of the vulnerability grief demands and it is only made tolerable by the shared tears and open vulnerability of your kin, those who are in it with you, truly, truly sharing that same space. I am grateful that I have found mine. I hope they are grateful for my presence.
“How many animals do you have?” How many times were we asked that this weekend, as if it is the body count that matters. “Not enough”, I say. So much change to make, to be a part of. Find yours. Do it fiercely.