It is so strange to be mourning so many things as spring moves into summer. It isn’t just a time where the City of Los Angeles experienced the first fatal shooting of one of its bus drivers, Alan Thomas, we lost Barry Gibb and Donna Summer and have heard the story of the inhuman massacre in Syria. Through all this my friend’s four year old daughter starred in a production of Peter Pan, and if I have to be honest it is not one of my favorite musicals, however when sung by a group of adorable 4-5 year olds the events of these weeks brought a new perspective to “What Happens When You Grow Up?” about the boy who never wants to grow up. It made me think there are a lot of things we don’t want to happen in the world, that we wish we didn’t have to deal with but growing up requires an ability to stand in the face of these circumstances taking the action necessary to heal, while we accept that nothing can be done to change what happened.
We have all born witness to events that shake us to the roots of our existence. How we deal with these events and the effort of learning that ‘this too shall pass’ allowing the healing around the corner to unfold is the essence of picking a path and sticking to it, from witnessing the darkness and moving into the light, acknowledging that which is necessary for us to be free of that which weighs us down. We find our spots to process through what we need to release the energies that surround our being, we do this in many ways, scrapbooking, facebooking, video games, exercise, a great conversation with a dear friend, these moments of letting down are important to rise into the challenges and meet what comes with a sense of courage and confidence and fun and sun. Finding a way to process through the grief and the sheer unbelievability of loss, disaster and accidents that erupt in our lifetime is the way we find the joy in the present moment, connected to our core, feeling blessed and happy with what we have. This is the practice of humanity where we celebrate what we do have while mourning deeply what needs to be mourned.
As I was walking home this week after a meeting past the corner of La Cienega and Santa Monica Blvd. where a passenger with a shotgun entered bus line 105 and critically shot bus driver Alan Thomas I heard laughter before I saw the celebration of a small group of Bus Drivers about to board a couple of buses set up for one last memorial ride to celebrate the life that was lost in the line of duty. The sign on the bus said it all. 105 Not in Service. RIP Bus Driver Alan Thomas. Memorial Ride. We still don’t know why a man got on the bus with a shotgun and took your life but we remember you and honor everyone who works to serve the public.
How we respond to a tragedy, how we remember and hold this in our being makes all the difference and demonstrates the grace of life filled with ups and downs and losses and finding and creates the fullness of the glass. No matter how you look at it. People make mistakes, we forgive and move on. Each memory reclaimed and each piece put in service offering a moment of healing and remembrance. Compassion does not ask us to participate in judgement it merely asks us to be compassionate and forgive as we move through our healing process. It is what we remember when we take on the path of the true warrior in service of all that is. This is not the world that we were born into this is the world we inherited and create through our thoughts and actions and like any inheritance we work to become what we need to be for us and we unlearn that which we have acquired and we know our path is our path and all that we are shackled to when released is the way that we come into the truth of who we are. What happens when we grow up is we remember to show up and do what we know needs to be done.
With Memorial Day behind us and summer ahead take this moment in your life to remember and embrace everyone who is in your neighborhood and bless this block you live on and extend that outward into the world in gratitude. The days ahead will involve much growth, much promise and an embracing of that elastic nature of the heart. The News Media may not cover the side of the stories that showcase the resilience of the human spirit in the light of unimaginable tragedy but that is the work of our grown up humanity to see the tragedy and know love and light lives in abundance and will come through. .
Don’t forget in one of us there is all of us. Be kinder than necessary, share the joy in celebrating each other and when it comes time to visit the darkness look but do not dwell and count your blessings (instead of sheep.)
Lots of Love,
In dealing with loss, Stephen Sondheim’s Into the Woods comes to mind “Sometimes people leave you half way through the woods, others may deceive you, you decide what’s good. You decide alone but no one is alone.”
Melanie Lutz is a writer living in Los Angeles, California.