1. Truth: Life is suffering. This isn’t something I made up. It’s the first noble truth in Buddhism. We all know this to be true, if we can be honest about it. Sometimes suffering means simple discomfort, like a room that is too hot or loud, or an itch that won’t go away, but sometimes it’s full blown “I don’t know if I can survive this” kind of pain — the kind of pain Jordan Edwards‘s family and friends are feeling right now, or the kind of pain Amy is feeling about Burg.
2. Truth: Everything can change in an instant. No matter what we do to plan ahead, protect ourselves, or prepare, we can’t control or predict the way things will actually turn out. There are just too many causes and conditions for us to have much control over outcomes. We think we are doing just fine, and BAM, the worst thing happens — we leave a party early and don’t make it home, or an ache that won’t go away or a tiny lump turns out to be terminal cancer.
3. Truth: Loving and being loved is an antidote to suffering. No matter how much we love each other we can’t keep each other from suffering but weirdly that means we should just love each other that much more. I keep saying it, but it is still true: life is tender and terrible, beautiful and brutal — keep your heart open. And expect it to break, again and again. That’s the good news and the bad; as big as you love is as much as you are going to hurt. Do it anyway.
One wish: Even knowing how much we are going to hurt as a result, may we continue to be generous with our love and attention, may we keep our hearts open in the midst of suffering and chaos, and may we find comfort in our connection to each other, in the shared weirdness that is being human.