Beside Restful Waters
by Gregory Hermann
Yes, life matters.
Why should one life matter any more that another?
Over the past several years, my personal spiritual guidance has been leading me to a deepening appreciation of the interconnection of all life. Trees and flowers don't exist without sun, earth, water and wind. Fruit and grains don't exist without the bees and birds. We don't exist without all of the elements of creation and each other.
A powerful image has opened my soul to Black Lives Matter.
The image is of my own body. When my whole body is healthy, I don't pay much attention to my arms, legs, stomach or feet. However, I remember my broken leg as a child. My leg mattered enough for a medical exam, X-rays, a cast, a pair of crutches and a set of instructions from my doctor on the proper treatment of my leg over the next 4 to 8 months. When my daughter injured her knee, a similar protocol evolved, including physical therapy and instructions to us a care givers to support her recovery. Each injured body part required focused and ongoing healing practices for months, including a team of health care providers to insure the best outcome. My recovery could not be done alone.
These examples bring to mind two very vivid spiritual practices, one from my past and is also part of my present practice. I grew up in the Roman Catholic Church. When I approached a priest or minister for communion, I was presented with the statement: “the body of Christ”. My response: Amen! My early experiences were focused on the host, the bread as the 'Body of Christ'. As my spiritual awareness evolved, I observed that the minister looked my in the eye and spoke those words, to me. I am a member – an integral member of the Body of Christ. The body of Christ is all of creation!
The body of Christ is all of creation!
Today, as I speak to Creator as a practice handed down from my Native American ancestors. I introduce myself as a member of creation. I end my verbal interaction with a proclamation: “indenawaymagen”. This is a proclamation of interconnection, with each of you and of all created beings. The more I practice this proclamation of interrelationship, the more deeply I experience the pain any member of my body, our body.
At present, black lives matter as these relatives are in the forefront of injury to our body. At the same time, I read daily of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women. I have friends who have lived through the Indian boarding school experiences. I know of their parents and grand parents with similar egregious experiences. I read of victims of abuse or mass murder or caged children. Each of these is painful.
How do you respond when a brother, sister, parent, or friend is injured or hears a frightening medical diagnosis, or suffers in any way? We know the pain of interconnection. The intimacy of our connection is felt in our shared pain and suffering.
All of us have our own experiences of trauma and we all hurt.
I will close with my growing depth of gratitude that many of us are willing to share these experiences as we are the source of the healing so desperately needed in our families, communities and nations.
We are the medicine needed for each other and our universe.
We are the medicine.
Please! Please! Please!
Continue to be vulnerable and willing to come together, willing to hear of our differences, willing to share our traumas, and willing to heal – together as a family.
We are the hope of our children's children, and grand children, and great grand children just as our ancestors are for us.