‘Ruins are not empty. They are sacred places full of presence'(John O’Donahue: Anam Cara).
If we look we can see ruins everywhere. We see what is being brought to ruin right now. Impending ruin collects again. Adding to the ruins of our past. Rubble piling up in the decimated edges of lives. Or sometimes right in the middle of it, where lives were supposed to be.
Across the world it is possible to visit a whole host of past ruins. A persevered ruin, intentionally cared for and maintained ruin, like say, a castle or a temple. You can see what might once have been from the ruins that remain. You see what was once protected and protective. What was both tended to and taken for granted. These ruins are of great solid structures, like no one could have imagined them falling. We are reminded of how, eventually, everything crumbles.
But there are some ruins, especially the fresh ones, which are emptied by shock. And people flee. And we bear witness to ruin. We have a vague historic sense that someday, the elements of this ruin may be gathered up and rebuilt. But not this day.
This day we look at our own ruins. We have ruins we visit and preserve, in our lands, in our histories, our families, our inner lives. We look upon our ruins. We try to notice through the lens of distance and time, what has become sacred. Our attention to what is present there, may draw us towards those who flee from ruins right now. May we have the courage to visit our ruins from time to time, to sense the fullness of their presence. May this turn us towards the ruin of whatever befalls others now.
May we turn towards ruin.