The theme of this week’s WordPress Photo Challenge is “Fray.” My mind kept wandering to fringes, borders, and edges.
It seemed to me that a frayed edge was not merely a “fringe” but it was a worn fringe or edge. A fringed border can be artsy and add value and interest to the piece of clothing or fabric it is attached to. However, a frayed border implies something that is worn out, no longer as desirable, no longer fresh.
Frayed nerves bring to mind something that is being rubbed so thin that it might break soon. There is an implication of weakening, straining and decaying.
On the other hand, fringe is not always accompanied by the sweet smell of roses. It also has its negative connotations: living on the fringes of society implies living in poverty, perhaps homelessness, different from the mainstream to the point of being unacceptable and undesirable.
Living on the fringe can also refer to extremists, people who CHOOSE to remain outside of the larger society.
Actually, we are all living on the edge, the outer edge of the planet’s ability to tolerate us. We have exploded our numbers, our consumption, our waste, our fumes. Our appetites are voracious. We displace, then we extinguish, animal and plant species every day. We displace other human beings, push them to the edge, then into the abyss.
The last few weeks, it has been impossible to see any news that did not reflect the darkness of our human nature: war, torture and killings, police brutality, posturing and threats.
Add to that mix the earth’s rumblings, earthquakes, volcanic fumes, mudslides…
I had felt the edge of despair, my patience was fraying, my tolerance pushed to the fringe with the ugly news, piling on top of each other like a massive heap of bloodied and torn laundry.
My kindred-spirit friends weren’t much help, either, as lost in the thicket as I was:
Then I came across this nourishing passage:
In the September/October 2014 issue of “Spirituality & Health,” John Robbins (author of Diet for a New America, Voices of the Food Revolution, and No Happy Cows) was asked the following question: “How do you maintain hope for change when faced with our current global situation?” He responded:
“I look out into the world, and I see a deep night of unthinkable cruelty and blindness. But when I look within the human heart, I find something of love there, something that cares and shines out into the darkness of our times like a bright beacon. And in the shining of that inner light, I feel the dreams and prayers of all beings. In the shining of that beacon, I feel all of our hopes for a better future. In the shining of our heart lights, we find the strength to do what must be done.”
There was strength and solidity in these words,
letting in a bit of light and hope: