Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Shades of Gray

Lately Isis has been on the news as they have struck terror around the world with their senseless attacks that decimate lives, families, communities. I am sure we have all wondered where they will strike again. Will it be our nation? our community? our family?

Will it be me?

Not too long ago, someone posted an article on Facebook about this reporter that interviewed young men who had been captured that were part of Isis and were awaiting their own trials that would, undoubtedly, result in their own deaths. These men, for the most part, had wives, a minimum of two young children, and homes. They had families; they knew love and devotion. When asked why they joined Isis and spent their lives murdering innocent people, they responded that they were hungry; Isis offered security. They were scared; Isis offered community. They were splintered and fractured after the US came in and dethroned Hussein; Isis offered belonging. The details didn't matter. What mattered was securing their families and creating peace for their own.

Don't get me wrong. I am not sympathizing with nor supporting Isis. Their brutality is abominable and, in my black or white opinion on this matter, must be wiped out. No compromise, no mercy.

But sometimes, when I look deeper--as in this case of this interview, I am amazed at the humanity of it all. These ruthless killers are devoted to family. Most likely they celebrate holidays, laugh with their children, hug their wives, watch the sunrise in awe.

How can that be?

Their senseless acts are evil, sheer darkness.

But life is filled with shades of gray.

Sometimes I wonder....if we could take all of the hatred and anger and violence in this world and roll it up in a ball, how large would it be? And then if we could take all of the beauty and love and kindness and wonder of this world and roll it up in a ball, how large would IT be? Would they be similar in size? Would the ball of hatred far surpass the ball of love? Or would it be the other way around?

While acts of terror and violence and rage are splashed all over the headlines,  average people walk the streets searching for hurting and helpless animals so that they can rehabilitate them and find them homes. Strangers take in children who are neglected and abused. Some stop and help the elderly or the handicapped load their groceries in their cars.

Some people ...
play in the rain, twirling with joy as raindrops fall on their cheeks,
play music and sing while they cook dinner for their loved ones,
run shelters for the homeless,
visit those in prison,
take a meal to the lonely or the sick,
offer a smile to the stranger they pass on the street,
take time for their aging parents,
offer encouraging words,
read inspiring words,
and some people embrace those who are different than themselves.

In my opinion? The ball made up of love and beauty and kindness is far bigger, far more meaningful.

Often I hear talk about how life has become so dark and that our world is on the verge of destruction. And granted, I do think with all of our nuclear weapons and acts of terror that could strike our water supply and such, we do stand on a precipice. But I don't think, personally, that it is because humanity has become so evil; I think it's because of the power we now hold in our hands. When I consider the days of Rome where stadiums were packed for the purpose of watching gladiators fight to the death...that isn't exactly an rose-colored view of the hearts of mankind.

Life has always been a conflict of love versus hate. I am not convinced that humanity has changed. From the beginning of time we've had the choice...

to choose kindness or choose to bitterness;
to choose to focus on how one has been wronged or to stand in awe at the wonder of a sunset;
to gossip and tear down or to offer words of encouragement and empathy;
to spread good will and community or to ostracize and belittle;
to accept with open arms or to reject simply because we don't understand.

1 comment:

  1. it's so heartbreaking. those poor isis people were just in desperation. they were doing the best they could and the best they knew how. unfortunately, it just involved a whole lot of murder... haha.....


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