I have been thinking a great deal about what it is I should or could be doing to help change this world into a more peaceful and peace loving place. For weeks now, I have been unable/unwilling to even listen to the news…a defense mechanism for which I am not proud. (Bob would be paying acute attention, I know!) Every single time I have turned on the news, within minutes and often seconds, September 11th is mentioned, and whatever is being discussed turns on the events and repercussions of that moment in history. Sometimes I just can’t listen. Reports of the UN bombing left me numb…again. I have never understood such hatred. There already is so much pain in the world that it seems inconceivable to me that people would choose to inflict more.
Bob and I used to have many discussions around all this. When I expressed dismay at man’s inhumanity to man, he would ask me why I was surprised. He had the ability to look it straight in the eye and see it for what it was. He said to me, as we stood watching a protest demonstration in Chiapas in January, 1997, ” As long as the gap between the haves and the have-not keeps getting bigger, there will be conflict, and the more people feel they are not heard, the more likely they will turn to violence. It is not surprising.” I wondered then, and I wonder now, is it just that simple?
When I was young I heard a quote attributed to St. Francis of Assisi. While hoeing in his garden, he was asked what he would do if he knew he only had this one day to live. He replied, “I’d finish this row.” I have thought about this on and off for many years. I feel conflicted by the need to DO something for peace and also the need to BE peace…to do what I know how to do…to finish this row. I know that unless I am able to recognize the everyday, small, good things of life I have no chance of making anything better. Impoverished, I will have nothing to give.
It has taken a huge effort since September 11th, 2001 to keep the tidal waves of sadness from being utterly overwhelming. But at the same time, it is dislocating to be living life “normally,