October 7, 2006

It’s things like this past week’s Amish schoolhouse shooting and the other events mentioned in yesterday’s post that can really get you down if you let it. But, as I mentioned in a post several months ago, the heartbreaking reality is that suffering is the common denominator in the human condition, affecting it in many ways and in many forms. Consider the following equation:

human condition = wars + death + violence + hunger + autism + floods + cancer + tsunamis + shootings + heart disease + loneliness + early death + domesticviolence + totalitarianism + alcoholism + earthquakes + coma + child abuse + random shootings + Holocaust + messy divorces + AIDS + pornography + racism + labor camps + levee breaches + suicide bombers + tornadoes + sectarian violence + etc. etc. etc.

Not a pretty sight, is it?

Here in my AZ subdivision, I set out for work each weekday passing houses upon houses that look the same, are painted the same and, for all intents and purposes, appear to be abandoned. Of course, they’re not – everyone’s just getting ready for work or gone to work. But I often wonder what’s going on behind those sandy-colored walls. Whether we realize it or not, everyone of us is surrounded by suffering in one form or another. Most of us don’t dwell on that fact on a daily basis, and that’s a good thing – because there’s goodness and beauty all around us as well. Even in times of great suffering, there is beauty to be seen if we allow our senses to be opened and aware to that possibility.

There is much wrong in the world we live in, and much hatred. Me? I don’t understand it. I might not like or appreciate a number of things – discourteous drivers, the color pink, skunky beer, liberal politicians, the New York Yankees, rap and hip-hop, Red Sox pitchers who can’t throw strikes, my ex-brother-in-law, for example – but I don’t hate anybody or anything.

…Unlike that Yankees fan who sat next to me at the FloriDema’s pizza place bar last night while I was waiting for our take-out ord…

(Excuse me for a second, I have Mormons outside going door to door…)

…OK, I’m back – where was I? Oh yeah, that Yankee fan sitting next to me last night at the pizza place bar. We’re watching the Detroit Tigers demolish the Evil Empire, and our conversation goes as follows:

HIM: (expletive deleted)
ME: I love seeing the Yankees lose.
HIM: You must be a Red Sox fan.
ME: Yup, seems we whupped you guys pretty good back in that 2004 divisional series.
HIM: My father taught me to hate the Red Sox, and everything about Boston.
ME: I don’t hate nobody, not even your (expletive deleted) Yankees.
HIM: Well, I hate the Red Sox, Boston, people from Boston, and Red Sox fans, now bleep off.
ME (getting my pizzas): Have a nice day!

I’m not sure what the point of this post is, except to say that even amidst the darkness of hatred and violence in the world, somehow you gotta understand that that’s just the way it is, has always been, and will always be. To me, that’s why religion has a vital role to play in the world: even though, as agnostics and athiests alike will be quick to point out, that much death and violence has been ladled upon humanity in the name of religion, it’s not the religion that’s done it, it’s the hare-brained people who have taken and corrupted religion’s teachings and practices for their own personal interests or gains that are to blame. And, let’s not forget that much good – and far more good than bad – has been, and continues to be done, in the world by religious people.

So, today’s not a day to dwell on things dark and disturbing. Instead, I’ll commit myself to looking only for the good in people today, with the lyrics of Brian Wilson’s “This Whole World” (from the Beach Boys’ 1970 album Sunflower) as my creed:

I’m thinking about this whole world…

Late at night I think about the love of this whole world
Lots of different people everywhere
And when I go anywhere I see love, I see love, I see love

You are there like everywhere, like everyone you see
Happy ’cause your living and your free
Now here comes another day for your love, your love

And, a good day to light a candle as a prayer for the light of God’s peace, love, and charity to set humankind free from the bonds of darkness, death, and destruction. The alternative is to give in to the forces of depression and discouragement, and all those things that obscure the good things in and of this world to lift our flagging spirits.

One can pray, can’t one?

Filed in: Uncategorized by The Great White Shank at 11:38 | Comments Off on Thinkin’ ‘Bout This Whole World
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