Community should assemble ‘handmade prayer flags’

Empathy is the answer to many of society’s ills.

In her poem, “Flare,” Mary Oliver wrote: “A lifetime is not long enough for the beauty of the world and the responsibilities of your life.” Increasingly another thing is true. A lifetime is not long enough to address our deepest concerns and keep up with daily demands. Issues such as global warming, homelessness, the opioid crisis, gun violence, health care and immigration all reflect a common thread of concern.

These everyday realities are influenced by the undertow of a broken political system and an inequitable economy that focuses on self-serving corporate interests. It is the lack of empathy, intimacy, compassion, vitality, and respect for life, which is present in our political and economic systems, that prevents us from addressing these multiple crises. No longer are the problems happening over there or somewhere else. We are being directly impacted and it is increasingly evident that something is weighing heavy on all our hearts.

Might a tactile, impromptu, self-organizing, and collaborative assembling of handmade prayer flags, which show what weighs heavy on us personally, capture the beauty of humanizing experiences of empathy? A counterbalance could be a personal prayer, which is added to the flag. More than a hopeful message, it is an expression of a sentiment of love in addressing the problem to be healed. This may not be a solution to the individual crises, but empathy could create a space above and beyond the ways we have been conditioned to think, which is where the answers lie.

— Suzanne Hubbard

Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) Please keep letters to 300 words or less.

More in Opinion

Wildfires must be turning point for climate action

As the smoke clears, remember when you could barely breathe and everything became sepia.

Unemployment impacts the island community

Almost 600 islanders are still unemployed following the Governor’s COVID-shutdown orders in March.

We still need each other

If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that we are all vulnerable.

On Vashon, hope comes from working together

Stories of islanders lending a hand to build a more perfect, compassionate commons give us hope.

Zen and the Art of Well Maintenance

Here is what you should do to safeguard a residential well and the island’s collective water supply.

Think of Bees Before Using Harmful Chemicals

Some insect control products have been shown to be very harmful to bees.

Federal Way resident Bob Roegner is a former mayor of Auburn. Contact
Republican’s write-in campaign highlights post-primary intrigue | Roegner

Can former Bothell mayor beat two Democrats for lieutenant governor post?

A rent fund helps those most impacted by economic free-fall

We are working diligently and persistently to keep people in their homes in the midst of this crisis

Schools needed more input on learning plan

We wish that there had been more intensive communication and outreach to Vashon families.

Most Read