Tuesday, June 02, 2009

So much anger and grief in the world...

and we just keep adding to it with our attacks and counterattacks, not seeing what we are doing to our children (training them to do the same thing to others), perpetuating the myth that there is an ultimate Evil and an ultimate Good to be arrayed on either side of, pretending that our moral positions are more virtuous than somebody else's because WE (insert particular arrogant prejudice here).

I was feeling unusually sad a little while ago and started to list the things I feel sad about right now: the murder of George Tiller and the deaths of 200+ innocent passengers in a jet over the Atlantic, the distorted sight in my left eye, the upcoming visit to the home of a deceased parishioner with her health advocate to choose a memento from her estate, the situation of a dying man who has asked me to be his pastor as he dies, Max's being gone again (second time in less than a week) for more than 24 hours, the weeds in my garden, the dead fuschia bush, a friend's dropping out of Bayview Sound, attitudes of people on both sides of the ugly choice debates, the attitudes of people on both sides of the ugly civil rights debates, and the fact that I was awake way too early this morning, probably because of Max's absence making the other cats anxious.

I keep replaying arguments in my mind----about choices that have common ground but only a few people seem to pay attention to them; about families' rights to be acknowledged, not condemned out of religious bias; about cats who run loose and act like cats; about convincing friend R to stay in BVS; about death and the dignity that is at stake when our health fails.

I'm sad and I'm angry and I hate both those states of mind. But there isn't any help for it today. It's better for me if I just am sad and angry and get through it. It isn't going to make anything better if I castigate those whose attitudes seem so unforgiving and intolerant of other points of view. It just hurts----and it hurts both me and them, because it perpetuates the anger and the sorrow and we act it out again and again and teach our young ones to do the same thing.

Where have all the flowers gone? When will we ever learn?


Bill Baar said...

I don't quite connect with the airline accident. My community is littered with crosses at intersections due to traffic accidents. It's the greatest fear I have for my kids at the moment.

But it's a different caliber of death than the violence we deliberetly inflict.. in the case of Chicago last weekend 7 fatal shootings in 24 hours.

All can be mitigated of course, but accidents and homicides are two different things.

Robin Edgar said...

There would be a lot less anger and grief in the world if people dealt responsibly with injustices and abuses in a timely manner rather than abjectly failing and obstinately refusing to provide genuine justice, equity and compassion in human relations when called upon to do so by victims of injustices and abuses. . . There would be no need for avengers of justice and equity was provided in a timely manner.

"It isn't going to make anything better if I castigate those whose attitudes seem so unforgiving and intolerant of other points of view."

Regrettably it is sometimes necessary to castigate those whose attitudes seem so unforgiving and intolerant of other points of view, and sometimes it does make things better.

Joel Monka said...

I think that you are right in your instinct to let your emotions happen, (as they will, eventually, anyway), and get through it. In the DUNE series, the Reverend Mothers had a litany against fear:

"I must not fear.
Fear is the mind-killer.
Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.
I will face my fear.
I will permit it to pass over me and through me.
And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path.
Where the fear has gone there will be nothing.
Only I will remain."

This is excellent advice for any negative emotion.

Robin Edgar said...

Needless to say I meant to say -

There would be no need for avengers *if* justice and equity was provided in a timely manner.

Robin Edgar said...

I'm a big fan of 'The Litany Against Fear' and sometimes recommend it myself. Not that I ever have much need of it myself being quite fearless and all as U*U blogger David G. Markham duly noted recently. :-) Frank Herbert's 'Dune' was more or less my "Bible" in my teen years. It is well worth reading, indeed the imaginary quotations that precede each chapter contain plenty of wisdom. I was actually planning to read 'Dune' again last month and will probably do so this month. I can see how The Litany Against Fear can be quite readily adapted to other emotions such as sadness and anger, the latter of which is closely related to fear. . . I generally am very slow to anger and usually do not allow anger to control my behavior on those rare occasions when I do get somewhat angry. I often simply let the anger pass before dealing with the situation that caused the anger much like what the 'Litany Against Fear' suggests. . . Some people confuse my sometimes quite strongly worded criticism with anger but I am *usually* albeit not always quite calm and even serene when delivering legitimate criticism of various kinds and rarely get emotionally worked up when I feel obliged to castigate those people who have well earned some castigation via their questionable words or actions.

Hopefully Max The Magnificently Murderous will be back from his latest hunting expedition soon enough. :-)

LinguistFriend said...

Part of the problem is the world, and another part of the problem is how you react to the world. There must be a hard balance, especially for a minister, between being insensitive enough to survive the hard things that happen in the world, and responsive enough to be humanly effective - even when you think you are off duty. I remember a therapist for whom I still have great respect nearly thirty years later, who emphasized the importance of my own response to the world. That I can control to some extent, even though I can't control the outside things. I may have mentioned a really wonderful book which encapsulates a lot of this sort of thinking, Lisa Alther's "Other Women". A secondary part of the book is its LGBT context, but the interaction between patient and therapist is fascinating and illuminating.

ms. kitty said...

Thanks, fellas. I appreciate all your wisdom. And I love the Reverend Mothers' Litany too. It's been a long time since I read any DUNE---might have to pick up a few of them for summer reading.

kimc said...

When you feel that you can read something about the abortion debate, you might want to read this. It's by Brad Hicks, and he is angry about Dr. Tiller's murder, and ends up with a rant about how both terms "pro-life" and "pro-choice" are misleading and provocative and engender arguments, as they embody the extreme positions without acknowledging the intermediate positions most people hold. It's a pretty reasonable discussion on the subject.

ms. kitty said...

Thanks, Kimc, for the suggestion.