knee deep in the dirt

I am returning my space to a regular kind of template at the request of a friend who can not easily read it on her mobile phone. I feel privileged to be able to do a small thing to help. But please excuse the mess while I figure out my template.

The world feels sad today. I look out on grey skies, and even the bees and small white butterflies dancing around my garden don't add any sense of cheer. I guess I'm thinking of the ninety-one people. I don't want to post about prettiness and peace today. Lately in our culture we seem to think that if we keep our eyes focussed on beauty, then ugliness will dissolve away. I've taken the same approach myself many times. Too many times : it isn't working. Maybe it's even making things worse. We can't create peace by just thinking about peace. We need to think about the ugly things too - mental illness, broken systems, fractured communities, material, spiritual, and nature impoverishment  - so that we can find ways to help, to make a real difference and build real hope.

When you look at the legends and tales of great folk doing powerful healing work for the community after some dragon or other disaster, what exactly were they doing? They were mucking in. Reseeding, rebuilding. The king with his sleeves rolled up. The queen touring bombed streets. The hero standing knee-deep in dirt, helping disenfranchised people dig out weeds and clear away ruins, so that good food can grow.

Or even just having a serious conversation, which in many ways may be the hardest thing of all to do.


  1. I feel a wanting for prettiness at times like these, but I can't write it. Well, perhaps. I wrote one line yesterday, and it's a good one, but . . . I am on the wrong side. No one will ever see it. I'd like to think a serious conversation could be had, but I know from past experience, it can't. I am nodding quietly.

  2. Thanks for changing the format. I prefer text to be zoomable in case I can't find the right pair of glasses. ;-)

    I keep meaning to respond with the thoughts I have to your newsletters, but it's a strange phenomenon, email, I don't get around to it and then it seems to late 2 weeks after. I can't tell you why! Anyway, now I've at least conveyed that I do read and enjoy them. :)

  3. I, too, like this new format - much easier to read :)
    And I, too, feel wordless, useless, powerless... What can one, disabled, unemployed person DO or SAY??
    But thank you for posing the question, Sarah xx

    1. One disabled, unemployed person can use her public platform to speak about important issues and things that normally go unsaid. She can notice if a woman is having trouble on the street and offer to help. She can see worrying activity and call the police. She can support family members under stress. She can vote wisely. She can think, and speak - for example, she can say no it wasn't Muslim terrorism, it was the act of an American who was mentally ill and who gave many people many, many opportunities to stop him but they all said nothing, did nothing. She can protest against gun sales. She can make art, spread wildflower seeds, buy local, smile at strangers, listen to others. There's so much we can do to help the world. None of us is powerless.

  4. Thank you for changing your template - I like this one, much easier to read and I feel you have your identity back. These are sad times that leave you feeling helpless and the word why that cannot be answered.

  5. Sarah thank you so much!

    Some days we just have to sit with what is, exactly the way it is, unable perhaps to find pretty words ... Sometimes "i don't know what to say" can be the best thing to say, for it opens the gate to new possibilities. {{hugs}}

  6. I feel the same - the world just seems sad...and it feels like with so much beauty it shouldn't be that way.

  7. Thank you everyone for your kind comments :-)

  8. Beauty is essential to hope. I focus on it not to anesthetize myself from ugliness, but to motivate myself to do the hard work of love. The hero standing knee deep in dirt and rubble holds beauty in his heart. It is that beatific vision that informs his soul: We can do better; we must do better; love is the way forward!

    Does that mean it is inappropriate to be sad in the face of tragedy and destruction? Of course not. Grief and anger can also have a motivating effect. But, unless we are guided by beauty, these emotions can consume and disable us and lead us further into destruction.