Sometimes things in life happen that shatter your world. I am not talking about those expected traumas, as raw and difficult as they may be: The death of a loved one or the way time starts our decay while we are still conscious and breathing. Even if we have banished these things to the farthest edges of possibility, somewhere beneath awareness we know that one day they will occur. As hard and as real as they are, they were written into the playbook when we started. We evolved for adaptation, and with time, support and holding on to what centers us, we will recover.
But what happens when the hardship, the trauma, cuts directly at that which centers us? When the unthinkable strikes those beliefs that were our foundations? When the things we relied upon in structuring and ordering our lives can no longer be trusted? How are we to respond when we lived our lives as if the world were good and safe and beautiful, and someone or something ripped that from us along with our hearts?
Of course, I am not six years old. I know bad things happen and that sometimes people take advantage of the innocent, vulnerable or trusting. Injustice has been with us longer than Christ. I am not talking about a loss of innocence that, to a certain degree, is part of normal maturation. Rather, what happens when another being betrays our trust in such a deep way that there is nothing left of what we believed about the world?
Giving up, or giving in to despair, is easy and natural. But it can never protect or heal. There is only one answer to deep trauma: Love. When everything is out of control, the only thing we can do is give ourselves over to a universe we cannot control and hold even tighter to kindness. Even if the pain we feel was caused by people-upon-people, the only response that can save us is caring even more deeply.
As soon as we stop caring and stop being surprised at unjust indiscretions, we lose that which is the most human thing about us. Anger burns everyone. Especially the one who holds it. Love is the only thing that purifies, heals and prepares the ground for new growth.