Kara Swanson's Brain Injury Blog

April 22, 2014

Dare to Imagine

Filed under: Uncategorized — karaswanson @ 7:50 am

I see video replay of the families and loved ones of the missing Malaysian triple-seven, screaming in anguish and frustration after more than a month with no debris field and no tangible return on the tireless efforts to find that plane. 

I have watched coverage of the sunken South Korean Ferry and the seemingly endless parade of the dead, carried on stretchers from the grave of hundreds.  Information there is posted on a white board about each victim for the families to identify:  braces, nail polish, birth marks, clothing…

I think of the families in Washington State who suffered that massive mudslide a month ago.  My thoughts turn to the loved ones of the lost souls on Mt. Everest this week….

And I don’t know how there is so much hatred in this world of ours.  So many lines drawn in the sand.  So many borders.  So many fences….

If you dare to imagine the plight of these people, all around the globe, it is another invitation to bring us closer. To bond over inarguable circumstance. It doesn’t matter what color they are.  What language they speak.  What political party they belong to.

When I imagine a dead child who was swept away by a mudslide….a young Sherpa climber buried by a sheet of ice five stories high…a South Korean high school student slowly descending into the dark and cold sea, any person in the frantic last moments of a plane crash…

It makes me weep to imagine.

We needed the Boston Marathon yesterday.  A year after that horrific bombing which sent shockwaves felt across an entire planet, we needed that marathon to run and run they did. 

A million people showed up to defy darkness.  To cheer and clap and prod on, not only the runners, but the very spirit of light.  Of recovery.  Of good.

There’s not a one of the million-plus gathered in Boston who didn’t take a few moments to fear and wonder and look around and take a deep breath and consider and pray.

But they came anyway.  They beat back their fears and they demanded the light and the light came.

It gives me chills to imagine. 

Last week a student was found possessing a firearm and six bullets at the high school where I work and where I went to school.  My school.  My friends.  My co-workers.  My community. 

That incident stole a little of the innocence I have always enjoyed there.  That young man took a bit of the carefree fun I enjoy when I announce sporting events.  He brought fear to school.  He brought reality to my school which, before this, had enjoyed the naïve denial of the untouched. The fortunate others.
What I’ve realized is that we don’t have to move unchanged from one horrific headline to the next and the new. To move on unchanged is to turn away the opportunity to bridge distance and make smaller a world that is so gloomy with division.
When we dare to imagine what anyone feels, even that poor soul on the side of the road with the flat tire in 19 degree weather, we plant the seeds of a compassion that emerges from the rocky soil of contempt. Of hatred and prejudice and bullying and meanness. In a world so desperate for the blooming of new hope and warmth, we need only look at each day’s headlines to see how urgent this need.
Let’s take a few moments from our crazy, busy days to feel that dark cold water in our minds. To imagine how enormous a sheet of ice five stories high is. Let’s reserve just a bit of our time to appreciate a mudslide that rushes into a home and fills it five feet high. Let’s sit with the visual of that teenager last week, sitting in a classroom with kids like your own. A gun and bullets in his backpack…
If that isn’t a bell toll begging for change then I am at a loss for what could be. Time and again we have watched with distanced amazement at what goes on in the chaotic world around us. Let’s bring it home in our minds, before it comes home and shows up on our doorstep. Let’s imagine what has been so that we might change what will be.
Our lives right now, our time here…Our period…This is ours. This is our place, together. Whatever and whomever, the good and the bad, we will, together, move into the history books. One at a time, our contributions, whatever they were, will go silent.
Let’s give ’em light. Let’s rattle the cages of the good. Let’s imagine the cold darkness so that we are inspired and compelled to the warm and the right.
Let’s outnumber the ones who make this world such a scary place that a teenager is sitting in third hour with a gun and bullets in his backpack.
No one else can do it. We are all we have.

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