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Day 102: Grieving Planet, Grieving Poland

“Give sorrow words; the grief that does not speak whispers the o’er-fraught heart and bids it break. ~William Shakespeare

Shakespeare himself would be overcome by the enormity of the tragedy that Poland faces today. Within hours, the brightest minds and most committed public servants, along with the ranks of the Polish courageous past leaders perished at once in a burst of flame over the very forest where they came to mourn the tragic loss of over 20,000 soldiers, the very heart of their military to Russian secret forces. If ever a land was cursed and haunted by the unforgivable deaths and haunting tragedy it is this one.

People lined the streets, total psychic earthquake, all the leaders of thought and behavior of their culture lost to them in an instance. You couldn’t even grasp the enormity of that in fiction- how could this level of loss for so many be real? And if it is real, and anything I said yesterday about the fact that we are all one, than the loss of this brilliance is shared by the world. When this much light is irretrievably lost, all at once, it reverberates in all of us.

The list of the losses is so great and cuts so deeply into the fabric of both the history and the present of a nation that it seems like it must be fiction. Not only every single current military leader, but the survivors of those who perished years ago now joined their dead. All those that had forged new levels of peace and cooperation, including their current president were on board.

It is impossible to imagine the level of loss. And as Emerson reminds us “Sorrow makes us all children again- destroys all differences of intellect. The wisest know nothing.” The way that we collectively grieve could mean everything about the future, not only for Poland but for all of us. If ever a time called for a movement of collective forgiveness, of embracing each other as if these are the last days for all of us, this is it.

There is a beautiful arched bench in the middle of the city garden in Eugene with the inscription: “Death leaves a heartache no one can heal, love leaves a memory no one can steal” dedicated to a young girl who recently took her life over lost love. We are strengthened by our grief, and to the extent that we refuse our grief, we refuse the essence of our existence. Grief and love are intimately entwined, how many among us only realize the depth of our affections at its irretrievable loss.

Grief that rewrites our history, and determines our future, that grips us in the present is only divisible by love. If we could, as a world celebrate the courage and devotion that the people lost brought to this world and declare a ceasefire for all hurts, real and imagined in this moment, we would give it the honor that this historic moment deserves. Lou Reed sings: “There’s a bit of magic in everything, and some loss to even things out.” I pray in the name of creating a positive future, that we all make this loss one that drives a peaceful magic into all of us.