I was going to write about working with owl spirits, but my life is in such turmoil, my heart and mind the same – I don’t know what I can usefully offer. Duty is an issue going round in my head. Let’s work round to that.
So, I’ll start with gratitude for you dear people who have been sharing the journey with me, who have offered words of kindness and support. You keep me going, and you make worlds of difference. Things are hard here. A year ago I’d have believed the things being said of me, and would have sunk under the weight of it. Love and friendship have enabled me to see myself in new ways, as a person who merits care and respect, as all people should, really.
Yesterday I encountered the full force of another person’s hatred, the malice so intense it felt like a physical assault. I still feel sick and bruised from that. I was accused of poisoning my son’s mind. I know enough to be sure I have not. I also resent the implication that he would fall for a load of unsupported lies just because I fed them to him. My son is a thoughtful, empathic sort of person, which is why he’s had enough of current circumstances as well. Now the blame and venom seems to be heading his way too, and that I will not tolerate. I’d put up with a lot for his sake, but I won’t sit by and see him wronged in this way.
I do have a duty of care where my son is concerned. I take that very seriously. Children are not able to make many of the big decisions that shape their lives, and they need to learn. An adult who has brought a new person into the world has a duty of care, and an obligation to put the child’s needs first.
I have duty where I have made promises and commitments – at loveyoudivine, the druid network, my folk club, Bards of the Lost Forest. None of these are necessarily binding for life, so long as I am clear about what is happening, I can step away if I need to. I do as I said I would. Duty born of dedication, loyalty and a bit of enlightened self interest – I give of myself here because I enjoy it.
I have generally felt that where people are acting honourably and doing their best, I have a duty to co-operate with that to the best of my ability. But I think it is also true that I have a duty not to co-operate with abuse, cruelty, dishonour, disloyalty, and other such wrongs. I have a moral obligation not to support folks who are behaving badly. If, through inaction, I gave the impression at all that I accepted such behaviour, that would be a dereliction on my part. While I feel I have a duty to treat all around me with care and respect, this has to be balanced against the duty not to facilitate wrongdoing.
It is so easy to stay silent, to do nothing, to let atrocious behaviour go unremarked, unchallenged. Not good enough. I have to do better on that one. I also have to take into account that I am a person too, and I should not allow anyone to treat me in a way I would find intolerable were it directed elsewhere.
So I learn, and I fine tune my notions of right and wrong, and, having drawn breath, I get back to trying to sort out the turmoil. Thank you, all of you who are travelling with me, all who have offered quiet words and companionship.