By Kenneth Justice
(In light of the heart-wrenching events in Boston yesterday I’m putting on hold my follow-up article to yesterday’s topic of lifetime love).
Whenever a tragedy occurs like yesterday, you are certain to know the headlines the following day;
“Tragedy Strikes —-“, “Shooting in —-“, and “Massacre at —” are all popular taglines that we humans have come to terms with as a sad, but realistic element of the human experience we call living in a society.
Another sad element of society are the people who try to capitalize on tragedy, and no, I’m not talking about the media, there are already enough articles on the media’s obsession with bad news.
I’m talking about the people who take bombings, airplanes flying into buildings, and psychopathic gun shooters and try to turn those stories into a way to push their agenda.
Yesterday the Twitter world exploded with the tweet, “Please don’t be a Muslim or Arab“……and I am going to be honest; I was thinking the same thing last night. As I sat there in front of the television watching the press coverage, it went through my mind a few times; “dear god, I really hope it wasn’t a Muslim or Arab who did this”
I have very close acquaintances, dare I say friends, who hate Muslims and Arabs. Call them bigots, racists, I’m sure there are plenty of adjectives to describe these miserable people I know. After 9/11 these people told me repeatedly, “We should just nuke Iraq, Iran and every other Muslim country and be done with those people“….and the scary thing was that when they told me this, they really meant it.
After the Fort Hood shooting my one anti-Muslim acquaintance told me, “See, once again I was right; its these damn Muslims that are the problem, they shouldn’t even be allowed to live in the United States”.
An even scarier component of these ‘friends’ of mine, is that for the most part; they are all fundamentalist Christians; thus the people who say they represent Jesus of Nazareth, the man who came to unite all races, he who was called “The Prince of Peace”….these ‘followers’ are the ones that want to wipe Muslims and Arabs off the face of the earth.
And so all of this brings me to butterflies and the age old chaos theorem that a butterfly flapping its wings in Boston will have an effect on the weather a thousand miles away.
Of course mass murder on a grand scale has a much more powerful impact than butterflies ever could. The events of 9/11 led to the Iraq War, a war that appears to have been an entire blunder filled with meaningless objectives and goals that we’re never obtained.
Thankfully, it would appear that the culture has shifted in Washington D.C. on both sides of the aisle and I suspect neither political party is ready to send out the F-16’s as quickly as they agreed to under President Bush.
But where does this leave us; you and me, the average citizen?
Should we spend hours of our life getting lost in questions like, “where was god yesterday?” or “how can god allow such evil to take place?”
There’s nothing wrong with such questions but when it comes down to it; there aren’t any easy answers to the problem of evil and why god would allow such things. Pastors, Rabbis, Ministers, many of the world’s greatest religious people claim to have an answer to the problem of evil, but many of those answers leave us more perplexed than when we started out on our quest for truth.
I don’t pretend to know the answer.
I do know that evil exists. Bad things happen.
And how we respond toward it will demonstrate what kind of character you and I have.
The majority of us live thousands of miles away from Boston and the immediate impact of yesterday escapes our normal day-to-day lives. Like any other morning I am here sitting at a coffee shop writing this post; life goes on for me.
However, the events of yesterday are impactful toward my life in a different way beside my ability to go to coffee…..they remind me that life is precious, it is fleeting, and if I’m not careful I could miss life as it passes me by.
I have relatives and friends who are obsessed with being know-it-all’s, their religion, their beliefs, their politics, and their philosophies have turned them into miserable individuals…..I don’t want to be like that.
I don’t want to hold grudges.
I don’t want to be a racist.
I don’t want to harbor an attitude against people.
I don’t want to be bitter.
I want to embrace every moment as though it might be my last. I want to live life to the fullest and reach out in a spirit of love toward my fellow humans.
These things sound nice to say but the reality of it is many people are hurting;
* Divorce has left some of us bitter and we don’t think we could ever love or be loved again
* The necessity of a career has taken some of us away from our friends and family and we feel alone.
* Social networks like Facebook have some of us feeling down and we would love to just have a friend to get coffee with once in a while.
* Family and friends have gossiped about us and it pains us to forgive them
*Our girlfriends, boyfriends, and spouses have gotten into routines that are bland and boring, we feel stifled and want something more out of the relationship
*a loved one has died and we are grappling with emotions we’ve never felt before
A million different things are going on in our lives and it is easy to allow those issues to swallow us up, to engulf us in a chasm that becomes difficult to get out of.
Are we embracing life or being swallowed up by it?
How are you coping with the emotional elements in your life?
Where do you find the strength to keep carrying on?
The tragedy in Boston reminds me that in a world of evil, love is of the utmost concern in my life.
I’m glad I have my coffee…..it is a comfort during times like this….