I walked up the road as I usually do every morning and there, at the intersection with the county road, lay a big doe that had been hit by a car sometime during the night. A sick feeling crept into my stomach, and I instinctively knew it was one of the mothers who have been frequenting our back yard all summer with her little fawns. My fear was confirmed when I saw her twin fawns wandering all alone in the yard. They tried to join another doe and her fawn but each time they came too near, the other mother chased them away. My heart hurt for those two little orphans and I prayed that they would be strong enough and smart enough to make it on their own. Rejection like this happens all the time in nature, and the species survive, but I am not comfortable witnessing it.
Richard Rohr’s words from a recent online meditation came to mind: “. . . to receive reality is always . . . to bear with reality for not meeting all of our needs. To accept reality is to forgive reality for being what it is, almost day by day and sometimes even hour by hour.” He states further that we need “to forgive it (reality) for being so broken, a mixture of good and bad.”
I thought of the sadness I often feel when the hummingbirds leave in September and the beautiful flowers, that I tended so carefully all summer, one by one, succumb to the frost and cooler days. Another lesson in forgiving reality. I thought of the damage wreaked by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, the earthquake in Mexico and the many lives lost, affected and changed. Another lesson in forgiving reality. I think of the unrest in our own country over immigration and racial discrimination – certainly a reality that is broken and a mixture of good and bad.
There are so many other things in life we have no control over – the death of a loved one, the loss of health, a relationship that cools or a marriage that ends, children who leave home, hopes and dreams that never materialize. All of these and more are realities we have to live with, like it or not. And, somehow, with the grace of God, we need to bear those realities and forgive them for not being what we want or need them to be.
As Rohr says, we must turn to what is Real – the life and love of God – for only God can help us to bear with and forgive our realities, whatever they may be.