Sunday, July 29, 2012

Evil in our Midst

It seems evil is always in our midst. It may come in the guise of a political leader; a teacher; a priest or other religious leader; a caregiver, someone's father, mother, or grandparent, or someone else that we would never expect. But one thing for sure, it always lurks where and when we least expect it. It seems to always rely on our basic sense of trust in our fellow human. This time, it came shortly after midnight in a small town in Colorado where a few people gather to enjoy a movie; a movie about a comic book character and his eventual triumph over evil---both personal and societal. Even in fantasy, we seem to have our demons. Evil came in the form of a man with name that I will not dignify by mentioning. It left in its wake terror, fear, and loss. It also left something else. Something evil never intends on leaving. Faith.

I know it's' hard to imagine, especially as close as we are in time to the moment of collective loss, but faith will eventually prevail. Evil survives by installing fear. It lives, spreads, and thrives on fear like a malignant cancer. Fear is a powerful tool, for out of fear comes hate which poisons everything it comes in contact with like a thick black ooze. With hate, comes anger, and with anger all things evil become possible. All things which bring decay of society and eventually decay of our very living souls until only a dark emptiness remains. A black void screaming back at us in a yawning terrifying silence.

We mourn for the loss our loved ones. We miss them; their face; their laughter; their touch; and even their smell. We miss everything that created the essence of them. But perhaps, we mourn the most for ourselves. Funeral are, after all, for the living, not the dead. We, the living, celebrate all that they were by remembering.

In time, the pain eases, but it never goes away. Not totally. Nor do we ever want it to. We will remember all that was good and best about them. Perhaps that's why it is said that time cures all. It is perhaps then, this remembrance of the good, that we begin to see the world in a new light. A light that begins to fill in the hollow void they left behind. We appreciate the fragility and temporariness of life more. We begin to appreciate those close to us more. We take inside of ourselves the little things of life. The sound of laughter is just a little sweeter. The grander of nature is a bit more grand. The feel of grass under our feet feels slightly cooler. The taste of our favorite food and beverage seems to taste just a little better than it did. And from this, our faith begins again.

What kind of faith? For some, it' rebirth of a religious faith. A belief in something greater than ourselves. A renewed sense in a higher purpose. That our loss wasn't simply empty, random or meaningless. For others, it may be a renewed faith in their fellow human. An expected gesture of kindness or compassion. A child's smile. And yet, for still even others, it's a new faith in one's self. What does not destroy us makes us stronger, and indeed such an experience has made us much stronger.

Evil has and will always remain in our midst. Perhaps it's the cruel joke of some incorporeal entity. Perhaps it's part of the nature of the human condition. And perhaps too it is part of the randomness of existence and our interlocking relationships with other beings on a living planet. But whatever our personal explanation, it's how we deal with it that matters the most, and that's where faith come in. Without it, we drift through our lives. With it, we control the tiller of life and give it meaning.

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