Sunday, 19 January 2014
SAWBONNA: OPPORTUNITY - CAROLYN and CLAIRE
When inspiring professor and writer, Carolyn Heilbrun, took her life in early 2000, I was aghast. She chose to leave this world by her own hands. Carolyn is author of two of my treasured books, Hamlet's Mother and Other Women and The Last Gift of Time. We had shared a rich email exchange a few years before she ended her life. I remember reading about her death. I remember crying. I remember feeling sorry. Sorry for myself. And I remember reading that very day the words of psychologist, Rollo May. He said that our experiences of sorrow, pain, loss, grief, are opportunities. Opportunities to act. Opportunities to ask new questions of our very self. Opportunities to make choices about who we are, who we wish to be, and what we wish to do. This week, upon hearing of the death of my friend's daughter, Claire. I wept. I felt grief. I felt pain. I felt sorrow. AND Rollo May's words came back to me. As I walked home in the early afternoon after hearing of Claire's death, three Ravens danced overhead. As if in reminder of what Sawbonna means, "I see you," I breathed opportunity. I saw, through tears of sorrow, of grief, that I was given the opportunity for clarity. Sawbonna is about how we find the opportunity to live justice daily. Not merely because of the pain and sorrow that come with death, but in spite of them. Sawbonna with Carolyn and Claire, nudged me into a rich and vital remembering that daily I have an opportunity to be the change in the world I wish to see. Great acts are not necessary. Giving thanks for knowing we have opportunities to make a difference, matters. Gratitude for all that we know and do not know is Sawbonna. Is opportunity.