Note: this is not my usual happy-making fare. You are warmly invited to wait for the next post.
Most days, I spend a little time connecting with some of my refugees friends. A little hello, a little checking in on each other, a little brainstorming, too.
Today, as I am focused on a project, I hear the “ping” of WhatsApp. Instead of a regular emoji-enhanced “hello!!!!” in steadily improving English, I see a couple of YouTube links.
Clicking on the first one, I am faced with what seems to be the news in a language I am guessing to be Farsi.
Since I only know how to say “sit down please” and “popcorn” in Farsi, I am thinking that it is likely I will miss the message, so I inquire.
Within seconds, I get the gist.
My young friends fell upon the news - and filming - of two women from their birth country, being stoned to death for the same crime that had caused the two of them to flee a year ago: being in love with the wrong person. Being in love with someone that was not the family’s choice. Thus the death.
I can feel the tension across the line. The re-traumatizing. The gratitude, too.
They had told me before that this was what they were running from. They had shared with me their story and I have stayed on the phone at times while her tears ran their course: tears for loving and missing her mom so much and tears for knowing that this very mom - whom I am pretty sure loves her also - had vowed to kill them both if they ever saw them. A version of hell.
Today, they wanted me to watch the video. They said that they wanted me to know.
And because they so rarely ask me for anything, I did. From the safety of my home, my cat by my side and much more prepared than I was last January in the small windowless room where I lost my emotional virginity, I watched. With my new eyes and my re-arranged heart.
When I was done, we talked a little. He told me that they had not wanted their future children to ever have to risk this. That in fact, he would never speak to them about what he had seen, of the way his father had died and more. He also told me that “this is not our religion. I will not accept that this is our religion. This is a culture. A terrible culture.”
He then told me that he would not show me this stuff again.
I suggested they watch a silly movie before going to bed.
Tonight, I am quiet. I am grateful to have been allowed one step closer to something I do not understand and yet is part of me, because I am part of them, of all of us.
There are stuff I will never understand and this is one of them. There are stuff I don’t even want to try and understand.
A big fat robin is gorging on berries outside of my window as I write. My cat is sleeping, the sky is getting a little darker. I am hoping that my friends are also asleep, together in their temporary home. I am hoping that many children are tucked in near their parents, simply and safely. That hearts and nervous systems will heal.
I am also hoping that the moments of peace will outnumbers the numbers of … the rest. Especially the stuff I don't understand.
PS: I will be doing a one hour talk online about my experience on Lesvos. The places where unexpected JOY lurks, too :)
Friday, July 6 at 5 pm PST . On Zoom. Register in advance to get the link, ok?
Essential Happiness Retreat
January 10 to 20, 2019
Guadeloupe, French Caribbean
"Thank you for sharing your wonderful, heartbreaking, exhilarating experience with the world."
"Thank You Laura for sharing, for teaching and spreading loving kindness. "
"I think I love you. You bring good things into my life, or remind me of things I love and know, but have let go of."
"Laura, you are so good for me. I laugh and sniffle and get the shivers when I read your essays. Thanks so much for letting all your wonderfulness run around loose."
"Heart-achingly beautiful, your words and how you reveal your truth."
"Thank you so much for who you are and what you share with the world. Your mere being transforms lives as it has transformed mine. This particular post did to my heart what water does to parched soil."
"Thank you for your gentle words that are packed full of wisdom. I have been struggling with the concept of what words can do to another person when they are negative words. Your words are the flip side of our word power, and shows how delightfully powerful kind words can be. Thank you."
"Once again Laura Lavigne takes you on an adventure of the heart. She has a way of pulling you right in the car with her. Asking you to consider changing a fear to taking thoughtful action. Whether she's teaching a class, leading a retreat or heading for a happiness sprinkling, Laura will invite you to shed old ways of thinking and be completely authentic. Join in!"
"Essentially pure love.
I enjoy how Laura is kind to herself and to us other humans who dance in and out of each other's lives. "
"Don't miss a post!
You can count on Laura for warmth, humor, charm, and a lift to your day and your heart. She inspires me to be braver than I am, and to love the world out loud. She's a gem, and a generous one at that!"
I write because this is the way I am able to taste life more deeply.