inspirational story.acielo palmere.
I wanted to change the world, so I got up one
morning and looked in the mirror. That one
looking back said, “There is not much time left.
The earth is wracked with pain. Children are
starving. Nations remain divided by mistrust and
hatred. Everywhere the air and water have been
fouled almost beyond help. Do something!”
That one in the mirror felt very angry and
desperate. Everything looked like a mess, a
tragedy, a disaster. I decided he must be right.
Didn’t I feel terrible about these things, too, just
like him? The planet was being used up and thrown
away. Imagining earthly life just one generation
from now made me feel panicky.
It was not hard to find the good people who
wanted to solve the earth’s problems. As I listened
to their solutions, I thought, “There is so much
good will here, so much concern.” At night before
going to bed, that one in the mirror looked back at
me seriously, “Now we’ll get somewhere,” he
declared. “If everybody does their part.”
But everybody didn’t do their part. Some did, but
were they stopping the tide? Were pain, starvation,
hatred, and pollution about to be solved? Wishing
wouldn’t make it so — I knew that. When I woke up
the next morning, that one in the mirror looked
confused. “Maybe it’s hopeless,” he whispered.
Then a sly look came into his eyes, and he
shrugged. “But you and I will survive. At least we
are doing all right.”
I felt strange when he said that. There was
something very wrong here. A faint suspicion came
to me, one that had never dawned so clearly
before. What if that one in the mirror isn’t me? He
feels separate. He sees problems ‘out there’ to be
solved. Maybe they will be, maybe they won’t. He’ll
get along. But I don’t feel that way — those
problems aren’t ‘out there’, not really. I feel them
inside me. A child crying in Ethiopia, a sea gull
struggling pathetically in an oil spill, a mountain
gorilla being mercilessly hunted, a teenage soldier
trembling with terror when he hears the planes fly
over: Aren’t these happening in me when I see and
hear about them?
The next time I looked in the mirror, that one
looking back had started to fade. It was only an
image after all. It showed me a solitary person
enclosed in a neat package of skin and bones. “Did
I once think you were me?” I began to wonder. I am
not so separate and afraid. The pain of life touches
me, but the joy of life is so much stronger. And it
alone will heal. Life is the healer of life, and the
most I can do for the earth is to be its loving child.
That one in the mirror winced and squirmed. He
hadn’t thought so much about love. Seeing
‘problems’ was much easier, because love means
complete self-honesty. Ouch!
“Oh, friend,” I whispered to him, “do you think
anything can solve problems without love?” That
one in the mirror wasn’t sure. Being alone for so
long, not trusting others and being trusted by
others, it tended to detach itself from the reality of
life. “Is love more real than pain?” he asked.
“I can’t promise that it is. But it might be. Let’s
discover,” I said. I touched the mirror with a grin.
“Let’s not be alone again. Will you be my partner? I
hear a dance starting up. Come.” That one in the
mirror smiled shyly. He was realizing we could be
best friends. We could be more peaceful, more
loving, more honest with each other every day.
Would that change the world? I think it will,
because Mother Earth wants us to be happy and to
love her as we tend her needs. She needs fearless
people on her side, whose courage comes from
being part of her, like a baby who is brave enough
to walk because Mother is holding out her arms to
catch him. When that one in the mirror is full of
love for me and for him, there is no room for fear.
When we were afraid and panicky, we stopped
loving this life of ours and this earth. We
disconnected. Yet how can anybody rush to help
the earth if they feel disconnected? Perhaps the
earth is telling us what she wants, and by not
listening, we fall back on our own fear and panic.
One thing I know: I never feel alone when I am
earth’s child. I do not have to cling to my personal
survival as long as I realize, day by day, that all of
life is in me. The children and their pain; the
children and their joy. The ocean swelling under
the sun; the ocean weeping with black oil. The
animals hunted in fear; the animals bursting with
the sheer joy of being alive.
This sense of ‘the world in me’ is how I always
want to feel. That one in the mirror has his doubts
sometimes. So I am tender with him. Every
morning I touch the mirror and whisper, “Oh,
friend, I hear a dance. Will you be my partner?