MD: Nadya, I read the news today, oh boy. When I see what is happening here and around the world, I’m frightened, not only for me but for the world. I wonder what my children and grandchildren feel with the news today.
NG: My children have been quite forthcoming with their concerns and judgments of all that is going on. More to the point, as I do not yet have grandchildren and have long had “grandma envy”, I have recently found myself thinking that maybe it’s right that my children remain childless. It’s a frightening thought, born of my own despair about the future I am imagining.
MD: We know that when we are face to face with the One who made us, we’ll be asked, “Did you keep hope for the future?” I understand your despair and struggle with my own. Each morning I say, “The dark night will end”, as an affirmation that I pray to believe. As sages, however, I feel that we’re called to keep balance between the truth of the moment and serve as models keeping hope. How can we do this, Sage friend?
NG: I think you have already begun to answer your own question. It begins with prayer and the awareness that we cannot know all that will be. We only have access to a very tiny piece of the Mystery. So, I notice my despair, and then I pull myself together and look to where I can provide support and inspiration, perhaps, to younger or more energetic folk who are on the front lines fighting to make a difference.
MD: Well said. Bruce Springsteen has a lyric that goes, “Everybody dies, baby, that’s a fact,” and then the song goes on to say that in the meantime let’s go out and enjoy what we have right now. That helps me, too. I have a friend whose grandchild was recently put on an anxiety medication. While it saddens me, I understand. Maybe it does help to stay in the moment and enjoy all we’ve had and what remains. Walking humbly in our despair is important. As you say, we only have a tiny piece of the Puzzle.
NG: What is working for me, most of the time, is in line with what you’ve said here, Malka. Gratitude for all that I have and for this beautiful world I inhabit. Of course, noticing the many ways that this beautiful world is eroding, as a result of human hubris, can get me down again. But I am trying to live in the gratitude and the awe, and remember how interconnected and interrelated we all are. This then spurs me on to act and speak out. One of our friends in the Sage-ing world is part of a network of Elder Activists. Some of my most inspiring friends are marching in Washington every Friday with Jane Fonda. This is where I want to put my focus and energy. To support these efforts and to share in the outrage that inspires change. The despair I mentioned at the beginning only gets a small amount of my time and attention.
MD: You’ve inspired me! Another important way to stay balanced is to talk about what we’re talking about in groups, not just from a political perspective but deeper, from the heart. Together we console and support one another. I can’t, we can is a good slogan for now. I’ve begun a Sage-ing Salon and at our meeting next week I’m going to suggest that as many of us as we can muster will take that trip to DC and support Jane’s morally audacious and holy work.
NG: AMEN. Can I come with?