We choose not to listen to the Others; the wounded, the dying, the elders, the children or soldiers, or the “mentally ill,” for they speak a louder truth that we have spent our lives denying, pushing aside, as not really significant given the facts, the logic, the lack of intellectual theory. They speak with the voice of the prophets, soothsayers, the saints and the downtrodden, they are the voice of God, and he is still crying in the wilderness of our hearts, gone still, and cold.
They see differently, they understand, they love and they forgive for they know. Sometimes, they are very sad, and their bones grow weary with the weight, their hair grows long and their mouth droops, their feet are sodden, and legs weak, ears grow dim, because their heart is growing larger, their spirit bolder, their soul sharper, and they have grown beautiful, fleshy, golden, wings … but if you turn your head away in shame, you will not hear.
It is said, they speak too loud, ask too much, speak at all the wrong times, say it the wrong way, and don’t agree with you. We save a tree, a dolphin, a rain forest; yet these sacred ones walk with us, whispering an unshushable wisdom and vision. We put them away, off to the side, in homes, in “special places” … “where they can be cared for,” but we lose out, for life is not made to be easy. We are their brothers and sisters and if we push them away, we will miss life’s greatest treasures, we dishonor them and pass on the message that the trials and initiations of illness, poverty, age, and specialty mean nothing, that to grow, or suffer has no value, to have lived, worked hard, and loved much has no place in our culture or family. The message to our children is clear: stay young and beautiful and avoid feeling pain.
I do not think we will ever be whole, until we can hear these voices, until we are them.
For it is the time we give, an earthly dimension which is the value of our gift to others, a smile of knowing, the whisper of love in the caress of our attention, the wee spirited thoughts of them that manifest the hours they feel beloved, deep in their bones, they will know the honor of loves might. It is how we listen, without bias, without self, how we can know them, how they feel understood, seen, and significant. It is our willingness to dance to their fiddler, to see the mountain from the other side. So we too will learn what love really is; a seed, a promise, made with each rising sun.