Right now, Christchurch, New Zealand is a wounded place. After a racist gunman killed fifty people there last week and wounded many others, the city and country that pride themselves on providing a safe home to all is raw, horrified, and grieving.
When Radical Joy for Hard Times was founded, we assumed that the “wounded places” where we would bring attention and creativity would be those that had undergone some kind of ecological assault. In recent years, however, we’ve been inspired and gratified as people in our global network have expanded the concept of a wounded place to include those hurt by war and violence.
For her 2012 Global Earth Exchange, for example, Wendy Steele organized a group of women who had been victims of violence during the Bosnian War to bring a message of resilience and beauty to a city square in Herzogovina. In Kabul, Afghanistan, the Afghan Peace Volunteers often join the Global Earth Exchange by working in their permaculture garden. And in the U.S., Judy Todd, Deborah Milton, and David Bronstein have offered ceremony and art at places where Japanese-Americans were interned during World War II.
These days so many places worldwide bear the wounds of violence. Often, after such incidents, people go to the place where the shooting, bombing, or other act occurred and express their compassion by leaving gifts of flowers, cards, notes, and Teddy Bears. That hurt place becomes for a while something more than ordinary, for its pavement, its walls, its trees and grass seem to hold an imprint of the horror that happened there. It becomes a visible threshold between life and death.
Radical Joy for Hard Times invites you, too, to express you compassion for those who are suffering-even from afar. This week, consider leaving a gift of remembrance at a mosque or Islamic Center near you. Let us, by our small actions, embody our knowledge that a wounded place scars all of us.