Another Brick in the Wall
Posted on July 25, 2014
“All in all you’re just another brick in the wall.” – Roger Waters
I would like to dedicate this post to the AIDS workers and all the victims of the Flight 17.
The last couple weeks have demonstrated the destructive aspects of human existence. Innocent victims on their way to the International AIDS Conference shot down, civilian deaths in Israel, and painful pictures of police brutality in New York City. As those who understand the impact of trauma, these events are especially painful as we understand that the pain and suffering of victims lasts long after the story is no longer news.
I get frustrated at times to see powerful adults behaving in a way that my wife’s first grade students know is fundamentally wrong. How can people smart enough to gain positions of power act in such unethical and destructive ways, while ignoring the suffering and death resulting from their actions? While the answers to this question exist, it still is difficult to live in a word where so much avoidable pain is visited on innocent people.
Destruction is part of nature and people, coming out of this nature, have the capacity to unleash this destruction for personal gain. This drama plays out throughout our history, and the resulting trauma shapes many of the destructive behaviors we see on the news today. There is a miracle in all of this pain and suffering. These men (and mostly it is us men who take these actions) with their power, ambition, technology, and weapons do not dominate the overall culture of modern society. While it may not seem like it (and for some it isn’t true), studies show conclusively that overall we live in the most peaceful and safe period in human history.
What contains these powerful men with their weapons, keeping them from taking their destruction to an even greater level? This containment is provided by those in the world who put compassion over personal gain and their own ambition for power. As helpers, we play an important role in creating a Wall of Compassion, which contains this destructive aspect of human nature.
We care for those damaged by war, abuse, poverty, and violence of all types. We step up and speak out when we see injustice done to those we serve and to our communities. We meet ignorance and hate with compassion, empathy, and a fundamental passion for a better and more humane world.
As the peacekeepers who contain the destruction and heal the pain caused by those who abuse power, we bring the Yang, or light, to the world’s dark places keeping the Yin, or darkness, in balance. Instead of weapons, we choose compassion and love as the tools for our work. We have a very different vision for the world than the tyrants and terrorists who use fear and the death of innocents as the means to realize their version of the world.
Collectively, each of us are a bricks in a Wall of Compassion. From this Wall, healing happens, hope is found, and solutions for a better world are called forth. Healers stand guard on the wall with teachers, clergy, organizers, and people from all walks of life who have put compassion before personal gain. While an evil and destructive nature exists in all of us, we choose a different path for ourselves, standing in challenge to the small yet powerful minority that chooses to bring hate and death into the world for personal gain.
Even these dark events of the last few weeks pale in comparison to the miracles that happen every day in homeless shelters, community health centers, AIDS service organizations, and on the street in the work outreach workers. No missile compares to the empathy and healing you provide those living in trauma. Ambition for power stands no chance when confronted by compassion and love for others.
I stand on the Wall, proud to call each of you a friend and companion in our mission of healing and transformation. We stand on the bricks laid by the Freedom Riders, Abolitionists, Feminists, Organizers, Protesters, and Peacemakers that have showed us how compassion changes history in a permanent way, one that no bullet or noose can ever accomplish. We guard our Wall because those courageous kids from Central America need our voices and love, people without homes have a right to housing, and underfunded and illogical systems of care need reform so our clients get a real chance at the American Dream.
My friends, do not get depressed or feel you have no power in the face of terror and death. Every time you sit across from someone who is suffering, you add another brick to our Wall of Compassion. You stop cycles of destruction with hope, and create healthy communities that do not pass pain and destruction to the next generation. This week, think about your contribution to this Wall and take pride in being on the right side of humanity and history.
“All in all you’re just another brick in the wall.”
(Note: Inspiration from this post partially came from a speech from James Edward Baker, a health food innovator, singer, guru, and all around fascinating man!)