On an episode of Criminal Minds once, there was a woman whose son had been missing for about eight years. As she spoke to another woman, who authorities believed had both of their children, the woman said that there was a moment early in the morning, when she first opened her eyes when she didn’t remember her child was gone and she was at peace. The feeling, on days that it came, only lasted a few seconds. Then it was back. The nightmare she knew.
I cannot imagine the pain this woman lives with every day. I know that Criminal Minds is a television show. And I know that her story is a story that many live with. We can only dare imagine the pain. And the bravery? Do we acknowledge the bravery of folks who look forward to the few seconds a day (some days) when their bodies did awake before their memories of the thorniest parts of their lives begin to play and then repeat all day and all night?
What can we do, as human beings, I wonder, to help our brothers and sisters have more seconds? We all need each other. This is what it means to me, to need more time. There will never be more than twenty-four hours in a day. No one is asking for thirty. People are hungry for time outside the prison of mind misery. We all become prisoners at some point. Whether the cause is some tragic event, illness, a phone call, death, (the list is endless) the gates close. Small acts of love and kindness are the keys we need to set each other free.
We choose. There is always a moment we know we can lift or crush someone. The state of our homes, communities, the world, is our collective choosing. We are all guilty of caging and freeing. What if we actively pursued love as simple as smiling, touching? What if even in the space of our own fears and illnesses and circumstances we sought ways to add easy moments to someone else’s life? What if we really believed that we are all one and that what we do to another, we only do to ourselves?