Monday, May 2, 2011

Mixed Feelings...

Well, dear ones, i was greeted by the news this morning, upon awaking...Osama bin Laden was dead, killed in a firefight by Navy Seals, ending a 10-year hunt for the leader of al-Qaida, the man responsible for the Sept. 11 attacks in this country. And i must confess that my first thought was, "Thank God! Perhaps the war in Afghanistan will soon be over!" But hearing about the crowds of people gathering outside the White House, in New York City, to cheer and celebrate brought another emotion- overwhelming sadness. i know...this man was in many ways despicable...dubbed a "terrorist" by much of the world, responsible as he was for numerous acts which caused death and destruction. i know...and a piece of me understands. But a part of my heart was weeping for what seemed to me a loss of our humanity when we can cheer and celebrate the death of another human being.

But even as i thought this, i harkened back to a conversation i had this past Friday evening with some dear friends who i was visiting in Pennsylvania. Somehow, as we talked about everything under the sun, from politics to mutual friends to our children to my up-coming trip to Africa to the major problem there of HIV/AIDS, we stumbled upon the topic of pedophilia and our feelings about perpetrators of this crime. And i recall saying that if someone- anyone- sexually abused one of my grandchildren, i could quite willingly kill that individual. And there it was! My own inhumanity coming to the forefront...my willingness to forgive, to practice justice trampled by the reality of my own emotional shortcomings, my own need for retribution.

So perhaps i understand a bit more the cheers and celebration, especially by those most directly affected by 9/11 and the other acts of terrorism perpetrated by bin Laden. But i find myself still grieving for our collective human inability to take ownership for our part in the creation and perpetration of the evil in our lives, in our world, preferring to point the finger outside ourselves to the "other"...instead of being willing to "cast out the log" in our own eye.

Hatred will never cease by hatred.
By love alone it is healed.
-The Buddha

terrorism
When you are
          abjectly poor,
when you live
          without hope,
when you see others
          with so much,
          while you have so
                   little,
what do you
have to lose by
becoming a terrorist?
                   a suicide bomber?

Why is it so difficult
for us as a nation- as a people-
          with so many “haves”
          among the world’s “have-nots”-
                   to recognize
                       acknowledge
                               our complicity
                               in a worldview                                                 
                               which makes terrorism
                                       not only possible but
                                            inevitable?

For when hope is gone,
          what rushes in to
          fill the nature-abhorred
          vacuum?
                    fear
                    anger
                    the need for retribution,
                    real or imagined.
                               Lord, have mercy.



Perhaps what we most need now is a participation in a celebration of peace, which is just what The Labyrinth Society is sponsoring this Saturday, May 7th. The invitation has gone out  worldwide for a walk for peace, "Walk as One at 1", calling people to walk a labyrinth in their area at 1p.m. in their own time zone, in order to be part of a rolling wave of peaceful energy as the earth turns. For those of you here in my part of the world, why not come to Holy Trinity Episcopal Church in Greensboro and walk their lovely outdoor labyrinth? (not the one on the photo) And to find a labyrinth in your area, go to http://www.labyrinthlocator.com/

May peace fill your heart, dear ones, and may we all be part of this holy wave of peace spreading across the entire earth. Perhaps, just perhaps, this celebration will remind us of our shared humanity, of the fragile thread which binds us all together, which makes us one.

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