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Three Lists: What Has Been Lost, What Has Been Given, What Has Been Saved, By Dan Allen

Reposted from RESILIENCE.Org

I.

There is a list.lists

A terrible and shameful list.

A list that will break your damn heart in half if you have the courage to look at it.

A list that will sap your strength.

It is a list so numbingly large

That nobody knows more than a tiny fraction of it.

A list that just keeps on growing.

Faster and faster and faster and faster.

So fast that nobody could ever keep up.

— It is a list of things that have been lost.

Of things that have been broken, burnt, wasted, ruined, disappeared.

Of things abused, eroded, corrupted, forgotten, sacrificed, discarded.

Of things disfigured, suffocated, poisoned, fucked up, shattered, and killed.

Things lost,

Lost by a culture that would not acknowledge limits,

That would not acknowledge debts, dependencies, or connections.

A thankless culture.

A culture that arrogantly and violently refused to see, hear, feel, touch, or taste

The world that gave birth to it just yesterday.

— It is a list that will sap your strength.

— It is a list that will break your damn heart.

II.

But there is also a second list.

A breathtakingly beautiful list.

A list that will heal your heart if you have the sense to look at it.

It is a list that has been getting smaller, smaller, smaller every year.

But a list still so gloriously large

That nobody knows more than a tiny fraction of it.

— It is a list of things that have been given.

Of things that grow, run, swim, eat, blow, wiggle, rustle, clack, flow, slide, and laugh.

Of things that fly, cuddle, fight, howl, slither, hunt, hide, drift, ooze, sleep, and love.

Of things that are strong, deep, soft, tiny, smooth, hot, playful, slow, and hungry.

Of things that are green, brown, blue, thorny, large, dry, cold, fragile, wet, and fast.

Things given,

Given now to us, free

By a world that only asks us to see, hear, feel, touch, and taste them.

By a world that only asks us to take membership among that list.

A world that gave birth to us all, before time began.

— It is a list that will heal your heart.

III.

And there is a third list.

A much smaller list,

But a list that will give you strength if you have the wisdom

To look for it, to find it, to learn it, to live it.

It is a list dangerously small

Because so much has been forgotten.

And because nobody anymore knows more than a tiny fraction of it.

And it is a list that is still shrinking.

Faster and faster and faster.

Until it is almost gone.

But it is not gone.

— It is a list of things that have been saved.

Of things that have been mended, nurtured, passed down, remembered

Of things taken care of, tended, loved, watched over

Of ways of talking, ways of knowing, ways of seeing, ways of feeling, and ways of loving

Of customs, rituals, practices, seeds, breeds, tools, skills, and prayers.

Things saved.

It is a list that teaches us how to belong to this world.

A list that teaches us how to live in this world without destroying it.

A list that teaches us how to live with each other without destroying ourselves.

Passed down from cultures that celebrated limits, that worshipped them.

Thankful cultures.

Cultures that awoke each morning to see, hear, feel, touch, or taste

The world that gave birth to them.

A world that is now slipping away from us.

A world that will slip away from us if we don’t hold onto it

With all the strength we can summon

In our hearts, in our minds, and in our bodies.

It is a list that will give you this strength.

IV.

So in this time of catastrophe,

Perhaps we should turn to these lists.

And teach our children from them.

So that we may live.

(25 January 2013)

2 comments to Three Lists: What Has Been Lost, What Has Been Given, What Has Been Saved, By Dan Allen

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