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Tears for the fallen

Confessions of a realistic pollyanna

I am back. I had a wonderful vacation time. It was a time of re-charging. It was a time of discovery. It was a time of relaxation.

While I was away, one thing I got to do, which I had always wanted to do was to snorkel at the Great Barrier Reef. I had long heard that it was one of the great wonders of the natural world. And truly the reef was that. I could see so many different fish swimming there. Brightly coloured fish with brilliant patterns were all around me. My poor snorkelling skills meant that I did not get as many pictures as I wanted to of the fish and coral. But it truly was a mind blowing experience to be there.

But in some ways it was a bit sad to be at the reef as well. We were told that many of the brilliant colours of the reef were gone now, bleached by pollution and global warming. In some parts of the coral, it seemed almost lifeless where formerly huge schools of fish swam there. Yes there were some brilliant blues and yellows in coral. But there was also quite a bit of washed out grey. And this troubled me. Maybe we can change our ways. Maybe we stop polluting. Maybe the coral can come back to its former glory. But if we don't change the way we hurt the environment, soon the reef will become a wasteland.

We came back home to the horror of the mass killings in Las Vegas. Thousands of people were enjoying a music concert when all of a sudden they became prey for a sniper. Hatred of others killed 59 people that night and left hundreds injured. The fact that the man was a lone wolf or had no connections with extremism does not soften the blow of these deaths one bit. Hatred that night, killed off some of the colour of our world, it didn't matter what religion the shooter practised or who he politically connected with. This violence was evil. We are all lessened because of such an act.

Maybe, society's growing numbness to violence is like that force which is killing off the coral. With each mass shooting, truck bombing, runway vehicles, we seem to get more immune to the evil that exists in these acts of hate. We begin to accept these acts as part of life rather than as extraordinary exception to the way things are meant to be. As we accept these horrendous acts as a common every day thing, its as if our lives get less vibrant and our joys become less muted as we are always looking over our shoulders wondering if it is our turn to face evil today.

If we want to get our vitality of life back, we must struggle hard like we need to do to save the coral reef. We need to amend our ways. We need to remind ourselves that such violence is abhorrent. It is not normal. We need to remind ourselves that we are called to love one another and not look for other people's faults, but to love them as we are loved. It is not easy. It is too easy to seek an eye for eye rather than to forgive. But the only way we can overcome the muting power of violence, is to seek the vibrancy of love in all things. Blessings.

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