Friday, September 12, 2008

Poem after Wrestling with Peace

Greetings fellow Network of Love Lovers!

TGIF…It has been a busy week here on the bob home front. Busy, but really satisfying. I hope all is well with all of you!


For about 15 minutes last night, I sat in a quiet place, a chapel actually, and allowed various images of 9/11 enter my mind. Truth be told, this practice infiltrated several moments of fairly intense desolation into my psyche. My mind showed me pictures of what was the twin towers and what had been made of them. My mind showed me the toppling of Saddam Hussein’s statue in Iraq. My mind showed me video-like feeds of starving Iraqi civilians, especially women and children.

As I continued to reflect, I started wrestling with my God. How could an All-loving Creator let tragedy dip its hand so violently into our world? And then I found a moment of consolation from the teachings of my faith tradition. As Christians, we seek God through a source of light we call Christ. Jesus of Nazareth lived and died as a human. He SUFFERED at the hands of other humans. While Christians believe that Jesus rose mysteriously from the tomb on Easter morning and that his Spirit continues to live as a result of that divine mystery, they can not forget that Jesus died a painful, agonizing human death. He cried out, as blood trickled from his hands and feet, “My God, why have you forsaken me?” He SUFFERED and wrestled with God.

So how did I possibly receive consolation from reflecting on the sufferings of a person who my religious tradition claims is the Son of God, one of the three equal parts of a Trinitarian, three-in-One? On the surface, you might suspect that finding solitude in suffering is sick. On the contrary, I would argue that finding solitude in suffering is spiritually enlightening…after you’ve mourned and realize that all that is left to do is to try and make light where there seems to be only darkness. If I put my faith in a God “that is good ALL of the time,” to borrow a phrase often used by a very holy person, Deacon Edward Blaze from All Saints Catholic Church in Milwaukee, I can’t blame the evils in the world on God. At the same time, I must, if I want any good, and thus, in a sense, God to prevail in this world, the kingdom here on earth if you will, I need to work with brothers and sisters who do the people of this world harm and who inflict pain on individuals, cultures and, in some cases, even the world community at large. No evil is too evil to be overcome by the power of good that arises from people working towards a common labor to love and serve. Call me an optimist, that’s fine, but I hope and pray and really do feel that PEACE can prevail. Too many people want it to happen. We all have to pull our weight and, in whatever way we are capable of doing so, we all have an obligation to spread the message of peace that transcends any political, religious, cultural divisions that bring us into conflict with one another. If you are for peace, then you must preach and be peace. It is a difficult vocation to grasp, but it is one that we can slowly plant and watch grow in the depths of our souls.

Here is a plan I wrote last night after being with friends and going to a talk about peacemaking. I found much consolation after wrestling with God shortly earlier in the night. The poem is pretty rough, so bare with me…

If we can be peace, let us be so.
Let us be made peace incarnate,
A brand new image in the likeness of all realities harmonious
Let us deliver our victory symphony
To all the ends of the earth,
So that all creatures may agree and believe
‘Peace on Earth’ is more than a bumper sticker saying.

When we mourn, let our tears turn into pools where peace may one day swim.
When we laugh, let it be the laugh that comes
from the Peace that rests in the very depths of our being.

Let us be Peacemakers,
but let us be even more than that.
Let us be PEACELIVERS, so that the words we utter,
the actions we choose to take,
And the prayers we speak both aloud
And in the silent forest of our heart may convey a natural,
Timeless, pure Peace that leads mortal life towards
The abyss of Eternal Life. AMEN.

With love to all my friends,

Your friend bob.

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