I've never forgotten the radio interview I heard with the Four-Star General. War is tough, he said, you have to make hard choices. But if your back is up against the wall, if you're going to charge into a desperate situation, you want the nineteen year olds. You don't want the older guy, the one whose frontal cortex has developed and who knows enough to hesitate and ask questions. You want the impulsive kid, the one who'll do what you ask and never think twice.**
It was the day I committed once and for all to nonviolence.
The day I said I will never, ever teach my boys that violence equals bravery or responsibility or honor.
I woke today to the news that the police were hunting the last Boston suspect. He's nineteen, age of my own boys, age of the highly desired soldiers.
I lay in bed and thought of that General, capitalizing on an underdeveloped brain in order to provide bodies for assault. I thought of that boy on the run, twisted and warped by who knows what, rushing headlong into wickedness and violence.
God have mercy on us all.
And He does.
In the face of such ugliness that your soul wants to howl, such despicable and calculated injustice, there is still grace in the world.
And today - because it is a day that threatens to wear us down, to blot out our hope - is a day to intentionally remind ourselves of that grace; to return good for evil, and beauty for ashes.
Let's do beautiful things today, in faith.
Let's play music that lifts the soul.
Let's look at art and nature and lovely images.
Let's go outside and feel the rain or the sun or the snow on our faces.
"And what a privilege even to be alive. In spite of all the pollutions and horrors, how beautiful this world is. Supposing you only saw the stars once every year. Think what you would think. The wonder of it!” Tasha Tudor
Let's set the table with candles and make a cake and celebrate that God is good and we are here to testify to Him.
Let's read books that inspire and make us better.
Recently, in a Buddhist monastery, I watched a sister as she served us food and tea with great delicacy; it was as if the meal itself was sacred, revealing a presence of God. And so it did, because it was treated so. Tenderness is the language of the body speaking of respect; thus the body honours whatever it touches; it honours reality. It does not act as if reality itself must be changed or possessed, reality belongs to humanity and to God. Isn't this the way we should relate to all living beings - plants, animals and the earth?
Isaiah writes about the Messiah:
He will not cry or lift up his voice,
or make it heard on the street;
a bruised reed he will not break
and a flickering wick he will not quench.
There is no fear in tenderness. Tenderness is not weakness, lack of strength, or sloppiness; tenderness is filled with strength, respect, and wisdom.
Jean Vanier, "Becoming Human"
Let's sing and be gentle and show kindness to someone undeserving and give away some of our money and think on eternal things and pray without ceasing.
It's our own way of rekindling hope.
It's our own candle lit against the darkness.
Don't give up now,
beauty always returns,
grace is always seeking a way to show through,
Be beautiful and merciful and kind and tender and hopeful and truthful
and I will too.
Just this, for today.
**my paraphrase, I've been unable to locate the interview to get an exact quote