Posted by honestpoet on January 31, 2007
In the morning news on NPR I just heard a story about the gangs in L.A. Egads, what a mess. The chief of police has said, “Enough is enough.” (Hey, too bad I hadn’t copyrighted that…nah, I’m not really sure intellectual property rights have any validity, esp. when it comes to words anyone ought to be able to use…I’m not MacDonald’s or Disney, after all.)
The sad thing is, I can imagine a meeting sometime twenty years or so ago where fat white men with mustaches and cigars and badges laughed together at the thought of blacks and latinos killing each other off. Such a policy would, of course, be short-sighted (as well as inhumane).
The open-source Linux software Ubuntu is named for an African concept that I find wonderful (I like the software, too). It means, “I am what I am because of what we all are together.” It goes back to that interdependence thing. It needs to be recognized: at the level of families, neighborhoods, races, nations.
At the end of the story they interviewed someone, a young man at a funeral whose life was changed by the woman being buried. She’d changed the life of thousands, by offering affection and concern, unconditional love, to the children and young men/women participating in “la vida loca.”
I don’t believe in much magic. I certainly don’t believe in a personal deity, or some magical redemption to be obtained by faith or prayer. But if there’s any magic, any force that defies the laws of physics, it’s love. It takes so little energy and provides such a huge return. All it takes, really, is a little risk. A vulnerability to betrayal and disappointment. But there’s no other risk more worthwhile.
I love my husband immensely, and my children. My husband’s love has changed my life and provided healing from a less-than-ideal childhood I never would have hoped for. It’s enabled me to love myself, and to extend that love outward, to the world. When I hear about people living like these gang-bangers (or about things like the news story that followed that one, about the burgeoning tension between the Turks and the Kurds rooted in ancient hatreds and prejudices), it makes me so sad. What a waste of potential. All these human beings born with such a huge potential for love, instead learning to live full of hate.
Living in love, one walks in beauty. Clouded by hate, all one sees is ugliness, all the world colored by distrust and fear. This is one of the reasons I have to say enough is enough to all forms of ignorance, from religion to prejudice to the culture of greed and violence bred by corporate rule. Because despite the fact that I live in love, that, walking down the street I notice the forms of the myriad natural phenomena and the grace scribed therein, and greet each face, human and non-human, with an open and friendly look, I can’t help but feel frustration, sadness, grief, and yes, fear, at the hate and violence that seethes throughout most of my environment. Not only do I listen to the news, but I also hear the most horrid stories from my husband about familial violence, physical and emotional, that plagues so many in our community (and ours in not unique in that respect). And I wonder how children from these families can have any hope of learning to love, and it seems hardly surprising that even on an international scale the nations act like a dysfunctional family.
The concept of Ubuntu demands that I seek to change this situation. I can’t fully enjoy my good life unless all my neighbors can share in it.
I don’t know that Jesus ever existed. But I do know that as a mythological figure, he’s powerful enough to have entered just about every world religion. His message of love can’t really be refuted. I just wish folks would start heeding it.