CIL Reflection: A Prayer for Heartbreaking Times by Judith Schmidt



By: Judith Sarah Schmidt, PhD

Early this morning, I sat out back. Just sitting, breathing the silence, looking out over the moss covered hillside. My eyes landed on two thin weeds with a single thread of delicate spider web between them, shimmering with early morning dew, holding a single seed like a jewel. Tears came to my eyes.

As I sat, quietly breathing, eyes now closed, I followed the flow of my tears. I saw Dallas policemen standing in a line opposite a line of civilians. They moved along the line, hearts broken open by shock and grief, embracing one another.A thin shimmering thread of mercy passed between them, healing and softening. So many heart threads during this terrible, terrifying time of fear and hate in our country, in our world. So much pointing the finger, the gun, at the Other, the feared Other who does not deserve to live, who must be gotten rid of by any means necessary.

I heard the Black trauma surgeon who operated on a wounded police officer in Dallas share that when he is out with his five-year old daughter, he often buys a policeman an ice cream cone because he wants his child to feel something other than the fear he feels as a black man: a shimmering thread of loving mercy spanning across Otherness.

No wonder the two tall humble weeds, making it possible for the shimmering spider thread carrying the seed to form a bridge, brought tears to my eyes. In the midst of so much devastation all over our country and our world, my heart longs to witness fragile heart bridges in unexpected places, forming a web to hold the seeds for planting so they not be ground up, not by guns, or trucks, or bombs, or words, or looks.

I watched David Brown, Dallas police chief, a man whose own bipolar son had killed a police officer and had been killed in return, plead for his officers not to be hated, instead to be cared about. This police chief, in the open dignity of his broken heart, calling out for healing bridges between alienated people.

In the Buddhist tradition, in the realm of the god Indra, there is a vast net that stretches in all directions. In each “eye” of the net is a single brilliant jewel. Each jewel reflects every other jewel. Whatever affects one jewel affects them all. Everything contains everything else.

Indra’s net begins again and again with each delicate strand formed out of broken- hearted weeping and longing, reaching and connecting, containing every other strand of the growing web. It was that delicate strand I saw so strongly holding to the two weeds, reminding me of how the web is always weaving and reweaving, carrying every salvaged seed, no matter the odds or the loss of hope, carrying every salvaged seed, no matter how mangled it may be.

It is summer here. The earth is lush. The air is hushed, stilled in the heat. My heart is stilled as well, pulsating with the beauty of this life and with those who are in mourning, for whom the center no longer holds. May the strong and delicate threads of our heart connections give us the strength of our vulnerability. May we be stronger than our fears and fierce in our kindness, and rally in our smallest deeds to weave Indra’s web of inter being.

Upon reading these reflections, I invite you to share your own words for these heartbreaking times, each of us placing ourselves into the Indra’s net of our CIL community.


2 thoughts on “CIL Reflection: A Prayer for Heartbreaking Times by Judith Schmidt”

  1. I find the competing need for safety, immigration, lawlessness, compassion, refugee needs, employment liter greed and their corresponding misinformation heartbreaking. Paths or strings can be made and whatever the system, it impacts us all.

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