We must find joy in the midst of sorrow. In the most difficult encounters it can only be found in our hope. The mother and children in the picture above are obviously suffering. If we were to encounter them, we should ask ourselves what might we do. I do not pretend to know the answer; there might not be an immediate one in the global reality of hunger, thirst, and homelessness; yet, the question still is relevant. If we had but a momentary encounter. In this encounter, if we have food food and water, we should give it to them; not just half, but all of it. We should sit on the ground with the family and find ways to express unconditional love, especially first with the children with kind words and hopeful stories. Perhaps that is all we can do. The encounter is over, but its memory will continue in these forsaken hearts.
This story and Gentle Teaching are about the memories that we help create in our encounters and relationships. The first dimension of learning in our life is to learn to feel safe and loved with a small circle of kind and warm people. With a baby it is the family; with adults whose hearts are broken it is often a caring community. This dimension of learning is central and vital.