Gregory Boyle reminds us of the vision of an ancient prophet that we must aspire to today: “In this place that you called a wasteland, someday there will be hears again the voices of mirth and laughter…the voices of those gathered to sing.”
To reach that goal, Boyle says, we each need to hear and bear enlightened witness to each of those voices [and places] that some have assumed no longer matter. He calls us to be people who through our “kindness, tenderness, and focused attentive love RETURN folks [and places] to themselves.”
This indeed is the vision for biocultural restoration as well as for many healing arts and gestures of social justice. But the journey often begins in a time of crisis, when it feels as though everything we love has been laid to waste or corrupted… whether it is catastrophic storms killing trees and flooding valleys, the Russians wreaking havoc on our democratic process, or a mentally-ill gunman killing people he does not even know.
Our country’s cultures (and the world’s?) are in indeed a time of crisis, and the only way I know to move out of the crisis mode is to take one firm-footed step at a time in the right direction toward kindness for all peoples and creatures, tenderness for infants, the elderly and the marginalized, and focused attention on helping return to all around and within us to the primal nature and dignity inherent to their and our own lives.