It was a work day for me which means that I get to sit with courageous people whose are journeying and growing. This is meaningful work and I do not take it lightly. It is also work that makes for days of depth and lots of boxes of Kleenex. Days like this don’t have much space for checking twitter for news of the goings on in the world nor do they offer many opportunities for chit chat with my office mates.
Today, however, there were shootings. Again. Too many of them to think about. And I’m only referring to those that happened on the West Coast and made it into the news. So many people died today by bullets. I understand that there is room for guns in this world. I just hate when they are used to cause violent death.
Between sessions, three of us well-seasoned and hard-to-shock psychologists stood in our little shared area and stared into each other's wide eyes, shook our heads, and acknowledged the terror that was playing out in California. “In a place for people who should be protected,” said one of us. And, “I know.” said another. Then, as we all began to walk to our offices one said, “Next time around I want a different planet. Maybe one with only soft round objects.”
As his words sunk into me, I wanted to cry. Not just for those people impacted by today’s violence in Southern California, but for all people hurt by the sharp pointy edges of hatred and violence.
When I was young my brother and I had a favorite picture book about a little Brute family. Mama and Papa Brute banged pots and pans and the little Brutes pulled each other’s hair and scowled at one another. One day the tiniest Brute found a little wandering lost good feeling in a field and brought it home. The little feeling floated from his hand and hovered over the table and everyone was caught off guard. Mama and Papa began to smile and the entire family found themselves saying “Please” and “Thank you” and, in my imagination, “I love you. I really really love you.” Suddenly their meals tasted better, the corners of their mouths turned upward, and they shared softness where harshness had previously lived.
What if we were able somehow, amidst all of the competition and fear and segregation and power struggles that exist in this world, to find (or create) little wandering lost good feelings to share? What if our world really was filled with soft round objects that padded our way and that for softer landings? Could our own words and actions (fed by good intentioned feelings) serve as soft objects of sorts? Might even our tiniest expressions of love and peace make a difference for those we share them with? I have to believe that they will. I have to.
It is the silliest thing ever to do in the wake of such sadness and violence today but I am stopping by the store on the way to my meeting tonight to buy cotton balls. They are the roundest, softest objects I can think of to help me speak Love to hate. I will give each of my Wednesday night group members a cotton ball and tell them that it is my little wandering lost good feeling. I will look them in the eye and tell them that I care about them and ask them to pass a piece of that care on in the hopes that we can, in our own places and spaces, initiate waves of peace and comfort among the ocean of complexity that we humans swim in.
May we all seek and find every wandering lost good feeling, hold them close until they warm our hearts, and then send them, with intention to those who need it most and may we all know that we are Loved. Really, really Loved.