Last days of summer lingering are fading, and I've done a bit of getting thoughts down, but life is a BIG distraction. I guess that's what we all say. Like many, I've been trying to sort through these tumultuous times, not coming up with any solid solutions except maybe one that I'm not a fan of. The "thing" that comes to mind is this: LOVE YOUR ENEMIES. That thought is sadly laughable coming from me, since I don't even like some of my own family members (at times!)...---let alone a perceived barbaric bigot. Yet, I do realize that meeting hate and ignorance with my rage and wrath doesn't solve/heal/fix anything. Perhaps, it even makes it worse. My undeveloped frontal cortex reacts with machete like vengeance. My brain, hours later once some blood and oxygen has made it’s way up, thinks: this is a horrible problem---let's figure a way forward without so much pain and rage... And the way I see it is this: we can choose to perpetuate the cycle, laying the road ahead for our children and theirs, or we can suck it up and do the hard work now. So maybe, future generations can focus on other things--like saving the planet from global warming or curing disease and what not.
Currently the rage I have seems curiously and excessively over the top---these volcanic feelings seem disproportionate considering my actual safe distance from the goings-on today. Yet, I have always been and felt this way regarding social injustice---a disproportionate rage in relation to how these events actually impact my personal day-to-day life. I'm pretty sure I would be diagnosed one of those "empaths." Regardless, this is how I experience the world. The thought of future grandchildren somewhat terrifies me, as the overwhelming love and protective mother bear mode seems unimaginable. I think some of the rage is connected to this future, and also the past. I feel somehow these crimes and injustices against humanity are buried in our bones. The insufferable pain doesn't seem to die with those who experience it---each following generation carries it. My hope and prayer is this potential solution: love and forgiveness. Seems like a naive, childish dream, yet I know without love and forgiveness, our future will continue the painful cycle.
The biblical concept which exists also in non-Jewish and Christian spiritual beliefs that have to do firstly with the "sins of our father" that will be cast on his children, reaping what we sow, karma, what goes around comes around, etc. is in fact a thing! It appears that generations back, brutal slave holders may have died without paying their price---but their grandchildren are paying, whether their progeny can comprehend it or not. We all suffer when evil rolls through one generation to the next. In my opinion, only the sociopath or narcissist isn't deeply concerned about this. If you don't care at the very least for your own---you're lost in the pain and darkness you are part of.
So, I think---I dream of being able to look those who my raging machete wants to hack away, into their eyes and broken raging hearts, and to somehow see beyond that ugliness. In order to have empathy and compassion for them, I have to recognize their pain--and fear. I suppose it has to do with their mothers and fathers, and theirs, going back many generations passing this "sickness" and "disease" onto the next. If I treat these people with compassion and forgiveness, and TURNING the other cheek, MAYBE they will see I'm not their enemy.
Now, to the side that I am on--at least want to be, but my skin is light, yet my wish is the same. And, I haven't suffered in comparison. Honestly though, the hardest work is here, because well turning the other cheek feels near impossible. My question is this: When we are hating THEM, are we BECOMING THEM? I know my big dream does seem impossible, since both sides have so much pain and rage and hate to overcome. But, I see it as a choice, do we fight with hate and rage in our hearts until we all die an ugly painful death, so that our children and theirs will feel they must continue the battle... Or, do we do the hardest, most seemingly impossible work, and try to LOVE and forgive our enemies now, so maybe--just maybe, our babies and theirs may know peace and hope in their future?
I've shared this before, but it's worth reflecting on again from Celie in the book The Color Purple by Alice Walker:
“One day when I was sitting quiet and feeling like a motherless child, which I was, it come to me: that feeling of being part of everything, not separate at all. I knew if I cut a tree, my arm would bleed.”
LOVE my enemies?!
Pile it on.
Bury them with loving-kindness.
Look ‘em sweetly in the eye and smile.
See them, inside them,
with their old crusty cranky
the soft stuff is deep inside,
buried by pain
There are roots in there
that are so thirsty,
and there are hearts
that are parched.
Drench ‘em with light and love,
and pray and hope