Saturday, November 8, 2008

Staying even

"A girl cries as she carries a sibling on a search for their parents in Kiwanja, Congo. Nearby U.N. peacekeepers were unable to protect the villagers, a rights group said."

Jerome Delay, Associated Press

This photograph shot into me yesterday. I couldn't stop looking at it. I cried. That tiny child, the pain, the fear. And the brave sister, such a young child herself, pain, fear, forced out of childhood.
I felt it. It just kept jabbing my insides and I just cried.

I'm still having a hard time looking at it without tearing up - and judging the pain I've been through. Judging that it hasn't been nearly as tough, nearly as painful, nearly as full of suffering.

I can't do it anymore. I walk away from the paper and sit down in another room. I flip through the Tao Te's the verse I turn to:

Verse 29

Do you want to improve the world?
I don't think it can be done.

The world is sacred.
It can't be improved.
If you tamper with it, you'll ruin it.
If you treat it like an object, you'll lose it.

There is a time for being ahead,
a time for being behind;
a time for being in motion,
a time for being at rest;
a time for being vigorous,
a time for being exhausted;
a time for being safe,
a time for being in danger.

The Master sees things as they are,
without trying to control them.
She lets them go their own way,
and resides at the centre of the circle.


  1. Its such a sad photo. There are many more moments like it in the world every day, every moment. They tear at the heart strings and yet? We are not there at that moment to even offer a hug or some words of comfort.

    The condition of human suffering. We all deal with it and it has many guises.

    Part of that suffering is our suffering over the fate of others...

  2. Very true, Svasti.

    I struggle with the ability to not let visions like this eat away at me. This is just one captured moment in two lives that have many, many other moments.

    One of the reasons I really love reading the Tao Te Ching is the balance it offers - even though I see those images of suffering, I have to trust that true peace and happiness is playing as well. But we sure wouldn't know it if we didn't have suffering with which to compare...

  3. It is a very sad picture it reflects sufferings and poverty. but how can we stop this kind problem? at leat through this article of yours the message have been sent.

  4. makes you not want to waste a day. the goal of a good photographer is to catch moments - ones we'd not even notice or if we did, not see in this precise way. the goal of a practitioner is to also see these moments and every moment for what it is and act on it.

    the photographer did his job. what about us?

    great post!