Wednesday, August 8, 2012

...hate breeds hate



When the past dies there is mourning but when the future dies, 
our imaginations are compelled to carry it on.
Gloria Steinham

The ghost town sits beside the interstate in west Texas. We stopped here last December to stretch and walk in this thirsty place, our only company a tumbleweed that rolled across the sun-baked scrabble. I know nothing of the people who once populated this place, now marked only by a few concrete slabs and two rusty tanks. Google revealed that, as businesses failed, young people left. The older population dwindled. A last stand ended when Ghost Town tours, evidently as dry as the parched soil, halted. This little town died much as my grandparents. Life drew to a natural close and no one was shocked: to every thing there is a season

But some seasons are brief and their endings abrupt. I did not know the nineteen Nigerian Christians who were murdered this week while they prayed. I did not know the soldiers who were killed the next day when the same terrorists began shooting in front of a mosque. I did not know the Muslims who were in prayer inside, their lives forever altered by the attack. I did not know the Sikhs who were murdered last week. Anymore than I know the haters who unleashed their fear as bullets. This I know: at the moment I do not want to consider how many more I don't know. I am tired of the violence. Sick of self-appointed revolutionaries who call for rivers of blood. 

Forgetting is separate from forgiveness because remembering is a part of healing...though not when recollection is mined for grievances to be nursed or excuses to avoid growth. Memory must have wings: to bring the hard questions that must be asked and leave us to our heart work.  

Donne's words - every man's death diminishes me - haunt as they console. The future shatters every minute...for someone, for us all. This morning my heart is joined with those I do not know who are numb, reeling, lost in grief. Hope seems slippery on days like this, a thing of feathers indeed. But I am counting on those wings.   

[There is a] kind of all-embracing universality evident in Mother Teresa’s prayer: 
'May God break my heart so completely that the whole world falls in.'  Not just fellow nuns, Catholics, Calcuttans, Indians. The whole world. It gives me pause to realize that, were such a prayer said by me and answered by God, I would afterward possess a heart so open that even hate-driven zealots would fall inside... [My] sense of the world as a gift, my sense of a grace operative in this world despite its terrors, propels me to allow the world to open my heart still wider, even if the openness comes by breaking—for I have seen the whole world fall into a few hearts, and nothing has ever struck me as more beautiful.  David James Duncan

Some people are difficult to love...impossible without the Great Goodness. The best I can do today is not hate. 


2 comments:

Carole said...

Celeste, have you watched any of the Olympics coming from London this year? It has been a fantastic atmosphere, and a great reminder that mankind can work and live in harmony and peace. If only we knew how to build the momentum and bring peace and healing to all nations. Maybe we can hope that the goodwill might continue in small ways that don't even reach the headlines. Much love, Carole

Celeste said...

Carole, Bill and I have watched the Olympics, from the opening ceremonies throughout the events. I love the energy and passion of these incredible athletes...love to see the camaraderie across borders. These games have been well-conducted. And I've loved that the medal count per nation has not been an over-whelming focus here.

Thanks to all who've worked and volunteered. Your phrase about good will - "might continue in small ways that don't even reach the headlines" - is key. If I focus on what others think, on gathering approval or praise, then I miss the mark altogether. Your words are a lovely reminder that we do the next right thing and leave the results to God. I can't afford to roll-over because circumstances seem dire or because I feel my solitary actions are a case of "too little, too late". What I hear in your words is humility and hope. Thank you.