painting of figures seated on the ground

Where Violence Has to End

When I heard the news about the massacre at the New Zealand mosques on Friday, I had to stop, and think.

Something my dad taught me, a long time ago, came back to me: “What’s your part in this?”

I hadn’t thought of that conversation for a long time.

We had it more than once. I’d say: “But, Dad, I don’t have a part. Someone else did that! Not me!!”

To which he’d say: “Well … isn’t this a situation that you’re in? So, if you’re in it, what are you bringing to it? How are you responding? What part does your response play?”

That question, that [implied] advice, grew out of his conviction that “everything is connected to everything else.”

“What’s out there is what’s in here,” he’d say, and point to his heart.

Honestly … then … that conversation … made me so mad.

I always wanted to see myself as separate from “that.”

But ultimately our lives and the way we live them participate in “that,” make the whole world what it is, play a part in the whole field of interconnections and relations that just is the world. A small part, possibly, but a vital one.

Remembering my dad, I had to step back and ask myself:

Where’s that violence coming from … in me? What form does that violence take … in me? How does that impulse to hate, to fight, to “get rid of,” come from, operate … in me?

What can I do about that?

How can I lay down that violence, and turn towards peace, right here, right now?

Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
Romans 12:21

painting of figures seated on the ground

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