Tuesday, January 13, 2009

"There's a hole in the world tonight..."

"There's a hole in the world tonight.
There's a Cloud of fear and sorrow.
There's a hole in the world tonight.
Don't let there be a hole in the world tomorrow.

They say that anger is just love disappointed.
They say that love is just a state of mind,
but all this fighting over who will be anointed.
Oh how can people be so blind
Oh they tell me there's a place over yonder,
cool water running through the burning sand,
until we we learn to love one
another we never reach the promise land.

There's a hole in the world tonight.
There's a Cloud of fear and sorrow.
There's a hole in the world tonight.
Don't let there be a hole in the world tomorrow."

-     Don Henley

Watching news clips about renewed fighting in the Gaza, listening to stories on NPR about rioting in Oakland over the shooting of a young father by BART (Bay Area public transit)officers on New Years Day or heated exchanges between Indian and Pakistani leaders about the terrorist attacks in Mumbai this winter drove me to my knees in prayer.

But this song is what came as an angel...a message of hope...and a call to action.   Don Henley wrote it with his fellow Eagles bandmates in the wake of September 11, 2001, but its message, from the first time I heard it, was hauntingly familiar.

I couldn't help but recall inflamed moments of anger that have led to words that were ugly and harsh.  But in remembering my own past angers, I could easily see that in almost every case my anger
was just "love disappointed."  I was disappointed that someone I loved didn't love me back in the way that I hope they would, didn't understand my point of view, didn't seem to care about the things that mattered to me...didn't think I had the right to think or act in the way that I felt was right at the moment.

And the anger that we feel by committee, or community, seems to follow this track towards a fiery collision as well.  A community is disappointed that an appointed, or elected, leader or social agency doesn't really understand its needs.  A culture is disappointed that its neighbors aren't more understanding of its unique contribution to society or doesn't comply with a values system it feels is essential to humanity's success.  A religion is disappointed that others don't love the way they love, ascribe to a philosophy they feel is critical to salvation...or don't love the words or works of a leader in whose footsteps they strive to follow.

I remember one heated exchange I had with my younger sister when we were in high school.  She had an event that she wanted to attend, and I had a few hours before I needed to be at work.  She asked if I would wash the dishes after dinner (her chore) and she would dry (my chore) since her event was early and my departure for work was later.  I agreed, telling her that she really really really needed to be home before I had to leave for work. We both knew dad's rule that our kitchen chores be done before our evening commitments so that mom could take care of other family needs, like feeding infant twins, without negotiating the piles of dirty dishes, pots and pans created each meal by a family of ten.  She agreed.

But her activity went late and by the time she returned home I had dried the dishes myself and left for work.  I stewed and steamed all through my shift until I was ready to explode.  How could she be my sister and not love me enough to be home on time?  How could she do that to me when I had scrubbed all those greasy pans and potato-caked pots...instead of just drying already clean dishes...so that she could do what she wanted?  And on and on it went.  By the time I reached our darkened bedroom after work I had A LOT to say to her.  Thankfully my mom, on her way from the warmth of her bed to the kitchen to get bottles for one of the twins, intercepted me and could read the fury on my face.

I remember her inviting me to join her in the kitchen for a cup of tea and her invitation didn't leave any room for an obedient daughter who loved her mother to dismiss.  As we sat at the kitchen table my tale of anger and frustration spilled out like dark, sticky molasses all over the place.  How could she....and on and on.  When my sharp words finally started to sputter, mom stepped in.  I will never forget her saying, "Honey, you're not angry with your sister, your just disappointed that she didn't love you enough to keep her promise to you." 

She was right.

The next day she facilitated a conversation between my sister and I.  She learned how much I counted on her love for me as the reason I thought she would want to keep her promises to me,  and that I loved and trusted her enough to want her to have a nice evening out at the expense of my job security.  I learned that she had tried to get a ride home from a friend before the event was over, but couldn't find anyone willing to leave and didn't have a dime to make a phone call.  Our conflict was over and neither of us felt disappointed by the others actions.

I know this seems like a small instance in light of the enormity of nuclear proliferation, rioting, torture, or terrorism, but I am convinced that anger
is just love disappointed.   The disappointment may go WAY back...but it's there and sometimes the rest of us are just acting out from a handed down disappointment where we have lost sight of what was at its root.

So...what can we do today?  I am learning that I can be so alert to anger, whenever and wherever it flares, and be ready to pour in the love that God has appointed me to live right where I am.  I can seek to understand what someone -- or some culture or religion or community -- loves and why.  I can strive to judge no one, but when judgment rears its ugly head -- in me or in someone else -- I can try to bring information, compassion, understanding to bear on the situation or issues in question.

Mary Baker Eddy gives me a great place to start in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures when she says:

"One infinite God, good, unifies men and nations; constitutes the brotherhood of man; ends wars; fulfils the Scripture, "Love thy neighbor as thyself;" annihilates pagan and Christian idolatry, - whatever is wrong in social, civil, criminal, political, and religious codes; equalizes the sexes; annuls the curse on man, and leaves nothing that can sin, suffer, be punished or destroyed."

Imagine where we'd be if we trusted that good was the name and nature of everyone's God,  and that this God of goodness was infinite.    What if we didn't question one another but trusted that each was appointed to his place and posture of spiritual fidelity, cultural worship, and social mores by one infinite God who was good? What if we loved them for their willingness to just be true to their God whose name is Love...or good...or Allah...or Jehovah?

Perhaps then we wouldn't be fighting over the promised land...because every land, nation, culture, tribe would have promise, and would keep its promises because it feels loved...even if its just by you and me.

So what do we do about this world that seems so full of holes?  I want to fill them all with love. Thank goodness God has another way of looking at it...they are just the spaces He has hollowed (or hallowed) out for receiving our seeds of kindness, compassion, patience, meekness, grace, and love.  Time for planting...the fields are prepared, the seeds are in your hand...

with Love,


1 comment:

  1. Anonymous10:05 PM

    Thank you dear Kate-
    This is so true!!!
    The Seed is Love's immediate object of affect and action upheld in Mind's grace.