I’ve been out of the media loop, so I am just now seeing the news report about the Charleston church shooting. As always, the internet is alive with people talking 110 miles a minute, about the event. I don’t have any spectacular insights to add, except to say I think the “answer” really does come down to working on your home, and spreading the love outward from there. People want to “fix” this, and I think they sometimes can’t see the forest for the trees. You want to “fix” it by getting angry? Transmute the anger into actions of love and kindness for your neighbors, your coworkers, your church friends, even people you only meet in passing. Forgive those who may have slighted you; especially the ones who did it without intention to harm.
That’s what Christ commanded, and I keep coming back to the notion that Christ called it over two thousand years ago: as I have loved you, love one another. Far easier said than done. Especially when the flames of hate and acrimony flare up. Blame becomes the theme of the day. When you hate and blame someone enough that they literally become “unreal” that’s when stuff like the church shooting can take place. Hate and blame cannot be “fixed” with more hate and blame. That may sound poofey New Age, but I think it’s true. Acts of hate and blame generate still more hate and blame, until the whole world is burning.
That’s how ISIS operates — the guys who are the reason I am away from home right now. They want to literally burn the world, because they think they’re so righteous and pure that everyone else deserves to be mowed down.
ISIS is not a problem you, in your office or living room, can fix. Church shootings are also not something you in your living room can stop or fix. You stop the hate and the blame when you make a personal choice, every day, to be a lover of the souls who inhabit your space. The ones you can touch with kindness, with cheer, with delight for life, with encouragement, and above all else, with an acknowledgment that we really are brothers and sisters.
Again, far easier said, than done. Which is why we have to be reminded over and over and over. Because all of us keep screwing up time, and time again. And it’s easy to get so wrapped up in how we are angry over what other people say and do that we completely forget about what we say and do. Again, there is the spiral down — world burning! — and there is the spiral up.
Notice, it takes no effort to be carried on the spiral down. That’s the path of least resistance.
It takes blood, sweat, and tears, to march along the spiral up. Effort. Always, effort. Movement and energy expended toward a higher goal. A selfless goal. A Christ-like goal. Even if you don’t believe in Christ as a religious figure, the wisdom of Christ’s words is entirely sound.
Foster the connections. Grow the connections. Love the connections.
Connections are what can save us. If not from the evil of the world, at least from the poison of rage and despair that can consume us inside.