Do you struggle with the uncertainty of darkness?

Darkness has been clinging to the swake several minutes longer everyday as the seasons shift once again.  I spotted something moving in the meadow.  Two large dark forms wandered out of the trees into the clearing but the light was so dim I didn't trust my eyes.  Was I really seeing two moose or had someone's horses escaped?  I had an overwhelming uncertainty in my own ability to discern the situation.

That same uncertainty has dogged me for the last number of weeks in more venues than the swake. I have been caught in that place of uncertainty between the abundance and the goodness of life and the election marathon of negativity, the refugee crisis, the twists and turns of the Duffy tale, and the almost daily death of another young man in our city.  Like many others, I sought to be informed but met with ridiculous election ads, politicians spouting drivel, and social media exploding with inaccuracies and venom.  I wondered where to look for some thoughtful reflective insights.

Cow and Calf Moose - Look Closely
I looked through binoculars to confirm whether I was looking at moose or not.  That was an easy uncertainty to quell.  If only Canadian politics and international crises were that easy to understand and come to a conclusion on.  I came across an article written by Christie Blatchford in the Edmonton Journal about the refugee crisis that demonstrated courage and intelligence.  She prefaced her thoughts by saying she might be one lone voice.  Later in the same day I read another article out of England that made a valiant attempt to untangle the refugee crisis, and I was encouraged.  For a brief time the harsh and angry voices that seemed to populate the electronic sphere passing judgement from the comfort of safety, were silent as I read the two pieces.  It was necessary to read a variety of perspectives both for, against, and beside the issues.  But I found that exercise particularly draining when I was trying to understand the Syrian situation.

When I saw the photo of the little boy my body physically reacted before my brain had a chance to begin processing.  The tears gathered and I choked down the urge to be ill.  The first photo I saw had a man standing nearby looking down and I wanted to yell at him to pick up the babe.  Don't stand there looking, do something.  Then I wondered how awful and haunting that experience was for that man.  Would it drive him to acts of goodness or would it destroy him?

I doubt that man will ever forget that day or that boy.  Will we forget or will we be driven to acts of goodness?  We ignore the plight of the rest of the world at our peril.  No longer are we isolated from our national action or inaction, the response Canada takes today will shape the future of our nation.  Individually and collectively we have choices to make, we can stand by watching or we can do something. By the time the election finally arrives the periods of darkness will be even longer on the swake but I hope that between now and then I will be able to increase my certainty about some of the issues we all face. Certainty fuels the courage to act.  Although the world had to be shamed into action this week, I am hopeful because I watched a world that in all its harsh ugliness was touched and mobilized by the plight of a child.  As long as our hearts are soft enough to be touched, there is hope.  Rest easy, little one - you touched my heart and the hearts of many others.

Edited on September 6, 2015.  The Edmonton Journal article referred to was written by Christie Blatchford not Paula Simons as originally posted.