Wednesday, July 9, 2014


I live on a semi-busy street, a stone's throw away from the beach.  Whenever I have to get my son in and out of the car, I have a moment of vivid paranoia: I'm just sure a car is going to veer out of control and threaten his precious life.   This happens every time; I suddenly feel the fragile filaments of possibility that can be snapped without warning.  The universe becomes a giant web of cause and effect and I swear I can see the divergent futures pushing against each other, waiting to spring into existence.

This perception of probability makes it difficult for me to understand human cruelty.  So much around us can go wrong in an instant: freak weather, natural disasters, car accidents, sudden illnesses, none of it intentional.  Our happiness, contentment, peace, all of the pleasures of life rest on such fragile chance.  So why, for God's sake, why would anyone be INTENTIONALLY terrible to one another?

It's not that I don't understand the impulse to lash out, to cause pain, to inflict suffering.  I understand it so well,  I'm not innocent of it.  But I grow more and more aware of what I don't know about others, I grow more and more careful of the souls I walk in the midst of.  Who knows the broken webs that people are walking through?  Who knows what futures they are being unceremoniously born into?  Who knows what filaments of possibility broke around them and transformed their joy into sorrow? Hate and anger and fear and selfishness all have their causes and it seems important for me to be delicate even with those who will never return the favor to me.

I know so intimately what it's like to have both unfeeling chance and deliberate human cruelty shred the delicately woven threads of my life; I know how difficult it is to find the confidence to begin weaving that life back together.  And because I cannot control the random variables of existence, I can attempt to refrain from any actions that threaten to unmake the tapestry of someone else's spirit.  I learned from a ministerial mentor that you should never wake a patient asleep in a hospital because you never know if that sleep was hard earned.  The same principal applies to all of human existence: why choose to bring pain to others?  You never know if the people around you are barely holding themselves together already.  Be mindful.  Why can't we all be more mindful of each other?  

It is this mindfulness that is at the root of why I support marriage equality - why would I oppose someone's right to the joy of covenant love? It's why I feel compassion for and want to welcome in the 50k undocumented children streaming into the country from central america - why wouldn't I embrace frightened souls who are already grieving the loss of their families and home?  It's why I continue to facilitate the relationship  between my son and his father - I won't rob my son of the chance to know him, no matter his brokenness.  

Life is so fragile, we are so fragile.  I'd rather spend my days strengthening the people around me than being one who callously destroys the delicately constructed happiness that life can be.

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