Jesus wept. (John 11:35)
Unfortunately, right before going to bed last night, I decided to see what was happening on Facebook, and this is what greeted me, "Westboro Baptist Church To Picket Sandy Hook Elementary, Praise God For Shooting," and I can tell you, I had a hard time getting to sleep because of the mind numbing shock I experienced after reading that bit of news. I was already reeling from a video my roommate showed me earlier in the day of some other church man who made a public statement on video saying pretty much the same horrifying thing, and from all the people who were ignorantly trying to find blame, busily pointing at everything from the poor mother of that shooter, to the NRA. The article above capped it for me.
I'm going to do a little play on words, just for the sake of all that is Good and Sacred...because I've had enough of these folks who consider themselves to be representatives of God, and whose actions, in said Name, are nothing short of profane.
I am aware that because of folks like these, and insane, bloodthirsty people like them throughout the history of Christianity, God has gotten a seriously bad rep, and because of it, just the word "God," when uttered, evokes all kinds of crazy shit, and associations, (including God Itself being a "religion," which, I'm sorry, you just can't organize the Spirit of God into a nice little tidy box. It's impossible), and definitions, in people's head, whether you're a so called "believer" or atheist. ( It's okay, I used to be one of those anti-god, anti-christ people walking around, so I know the deal). And it is for certain that whenever I have talked about "God," uttered that word, I have been immediately placed into the category of these crazy people, by the "non-believers," and have had people end a relationship with me because of it. And, on the flip side of that coin, once the so called "christians," practicing their organized religion, realized I didn't quite have the same definition and practice as they do, they did the same thing, considering me some "heathen," (whatever the hell that means...I've met more so called "heathens" that have more heart, who express more love for humanity, and this Good Earth, and living, than these uptight folks where the joys of life and living are seen as "sin." So it's been on both sides of this stupid coin, from the christian and non-christian people alike, behaving the same exact way! I can't win for losing, and neither can anyone else who tries to find the middle ground between the two! Not that I'm trying to win anything - it's just a figure of speech, so don't bother latching anything onto it.
So, let's put the word "God" away for the time being, and interchange it with the word "Life."
The same day of the tragic shooting in Connecticut, a friend on Facebook, Karen Molenaar Terrell, shared this: 26 Moments That Restored Our Faith In Humanity This Year, with the subtitle, "sometimes you need a reminder that people can do wonderful things." I know I certainly needed the reminder, and I was grateful for the sharing. I was experiencing shock in the aftermath, which I mistakenly thought all of us humans were doing, and I'm determined to agree with another friend on Facebook, Robin Artisson, who wrote on the day of the shooting, "I wish I had more answers, for you, and for myself, but I stand helpless before the immensity of these dark matters. And if I have learned anything in my time on my strange wisdom-gaining path, it is the importance of letting oneself be stunned, letting oneself be shocked, even letting oneself be deceived when the time is right." In the same post, he went on to say, "Instead of trying to explain this away, or saying the usual comforting rhetoric, I am making the decision to expose myself to the cold, frustrating discomfort of not understanding it, and taking the burden of the grief that comes with it." I was grateful for that too, because now that I consider the shock I was experiencing, it makes a statement all by itself. Why wouldn't we, as fellow human beings, be shocked and grieving right along with the parents and relatives and friends of those innocent people who were so brutally murdered? There is no figuring out crazy, because it's, well, crazy, and we run the risk of driving ourselves crazy trying to make sense of it. There was/is no sense to it, no reason. Reason got up and left the room that day.
"The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly." John 10:10
So let's use that word Life in exchange for the word God. I'm sure God won't care. We could call It Timmy for all It cares.
The Spirit of Life is in and through all things. For in Life, "we live, and move, and have our being." (Acts 17:28) There is no separating from this fact. We - meaning humans, animals, trees, rivers, lakes, mountains, everything that grows and breathes, and I'll even include the soul and spirits of these things, and throw in some immortals to boot - are virtually and literally swimming in the Spirit of Life. Life has been doin' It's thing long before you and I entered the scene, with no help whatsoever from anyone. Life doesn't need our help. It simply makes Itself available to all who wish to partake and share in It's fullness.
There is an Intelligence behind and in and through Life that has nothing to do with us, but we are privileged to be a part of It! You could even say that Life is an Intelligent, Creative Principal. Life manifests, expresses and animates Itself in a ga-zillion different forms. Looking at Life in this way, you begin to comprehend how Life can be omnipresent, omnipotent, and omniscient. Life is busy expressing Itself as you, as me, as the tree outside my window, as the blade of grass that shoots out of the hard ground. What Force is causing any of it do that? What intelligence created it? What makes our heart's beat? What makes us breathe? What is that gorgeous, thrilling force that courses through our blood stream, lights up our eyes? What is that force that automatically goes to heal a cut in our skin? If we are honest, we can truthfully say we are not, and have never been, in charge of It. It is a Mystery. (Beginning to see why it's impossible to organize?)
As I have walked through my own, individual life, as I approached every living, breathing thing ~ my neighbor, which included the animals, plants, bugs, streams, trees, all of it ~ I said these words to myself, reminding myself over and over, until I felt the Truth of it sing in my very soul, "The same Spirit that lives in me, lives in you," so I'd never forget that Sacred Life we all have in common, and have been gifted with. I held to the common ground in all of us. That Spirit of Life connects us all. There is no separation. It is impossible to be alone!
We humans are unique in that we have been given a choice. Free will. We can choose to be a channel that expresses Life, and anything that supports Life, appreciating all that It has to give, throwing ourselves into It with grateful hearts, or we can express the opposite. Most of us express a little of both. And sometimes, when we are in grief, the only thing we have to hold onto is this.
I have heard people say, "Where was Life (God)? How could Life (God) let this happen?" (Having experienced what I have in Life, I put that same question to Life, when It chose to make It's Presence, It's Intelligence known to me, so I get it), and I would put to you that Life was present and accounted for, and the only one who had no wing or prayer, who desired nothing more than to take - steal Life and Innocence, who hated the flower in the battlefield, who was already a dead man walking, was the man who committed the crime, which I find enormously sad. And now there are people, who think they represent Life, who are backing the thief who brutally took it. Their actions are profane, and do not represent Life, nor even honor It, and if the only thing I can do about it is to write about it here, so be it.
"The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep." John 10:11
Life was there, expressing Itself through all the Heroes that stood forth to save those children. And, most certainly, Life was there, expressing Itself through a teacher, Victoria Soto, 27, (pictured below), a good shepherdess, who hid her little sheep in the closet, who chose to lay down her own, individual expression of Life, to give those little lives a chance to live theirs.
|via Facebook, shared by Ryan Tucker|