Saturday, December 15, 2012

First Cup—"The horror! The horror!"

I tend to keep silent about such tragedies as we have watched these
last few days. Words, one of the three ways we have to express ourselves, seem so inadequate--at least in my hands. (The others are touch and silence.) I find myself close to tears, suddenly, fighting despairing surrender and growing angry. Yet, these words came to me last night, suddenly as well. They do not say anything new, but that may be why they matter to me so much. This morning I read these words from Dr. Ajit Jetmalani, in The Oregonian:

"We should be focused on loving acts toward others
because that's what we can control."

So, for what it's worth, I offer this as a reminder that we live in a small, dangerous, and troubled world in which loving and simple acts of human kindness are the only real weapons we have.

Dark Faces Light Faces

A darkness walks among us,
only not outside us,
among us and through us and
in us, that means harm and hurt and horror and loss.

It is a selfish darkness that seeks its own pleasure
like Lucifer chewing on ashen fruit
Feeds on its self and the selves of others.
It is never full and, like a tape worm, is
often famished in a rich and lush world.

It is shadow. It lurks and assumes human form
more than any other. Insatiable and undiscriminating, but
innocence is a favorite meal; surprise a special spice.

Sin is the oldest name for this darkness; yet, it
has many names and faces—despair, distrust,
disconnect, dismay, loss, separation, disappointment,
denied. Meanness. The face of horror is a sad face pretending
something else—an ordinary human face. That
sits briefcase in hand, near the door, to escape

Yet there is also light among us. It walks
quietly but not secretly. Not as certain, for
sure, sometimes embarrassed. Sometimes we see it
most brightly in the darkness:

A slight connection—
hands held and bodies hugged.
Conversation over coffee around tables with friends.
Next to river light and sun light. Enjoying a moment.
Full. It feeds others, not itself,
and is seldom empty though more often ignored and
can breed darkness when unfed.
The face of light is an ordinary human face.


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