my huckleberry friend
It isn’t possible to promise those we love continuous health, happiness, prosperity or freedom from heartbreak.
It’s not in our control. Try as we might, life just happens.
Chronic illness is not punishment for existential crimes. Neither is generational poverty, fleeing war, persecution or genocide as a refugee. Stillborn hopes. Tumors. Terrible accidents.
These states of human misery are undeserved.
There is no over-arching cosmic fairness. There is rarely an answer to ‘why me?’
And goodness, purity of heart and deed is no shield from all of the hardships that life can bring.
A humanitarian relief worker who put her life on the front line of human suffering for 11 years dies of breast cancer at age 34. A veteran of 2 World Wars (a survivor of bullets, bombs, grenades, gas, landmines and chronic PTSD) leaves the world laying on a high street pavement after a teenage robbery. Yet human traffickers and war criminals can live to ripe old ages, wanting for nothing (except, perhaps, peace).
Loving someone at depth, whether a child, spouse, parent, friend, makes you vulnerable. You want to protect them with your whole life, at any cost.
And if the purest, kindest, most forgiving, modest and beautiful human you have ever known suffers deeply, it causes tumult and rage in the mind of you, their love. You rile against the selfish, the superficial, the ignorant, the wicked – why are they not afflicted?
What does our loved one need?
Does our rage help? Does our bewilderment relieve? Our helplessness comfort?
In the end, all our loved one needs, is us. Our inner light. Our grace.
We are the thread that binds them to life’s joys.
The eloquence of hands held in silence.
The presence of love without condition or limit.
In that place of hope and heart, in that deep and healing place of huckleberry friendship, our loved ones have everything they need.
In that place, their life’s seed is safe.