"Peace in the Night"
At the Desert Retreat House -
It was a dark day in America yesterday - many if not most of us were were shocked and dismayed as two more young black men in different parts of the country were shot and killed by white police officers during a routine traffic stop. Throughout the day yesterday I could see the rage over these shootings boiling up in the social media as angry voices were raised in protest everywhere, especially in the African-American community.
Then last evening, during a peaceful protest in Dallas over the killing of those two young men, shots rang out and five white police officers were gunned down by snipers positioned in tall buildings. This time the shooters were black men, one of whom said that he “wanted to kill white people, especially white policemen.”
In the wake of all those violent tragedies families are torn apart, children are without fathers, wives without husbands, the vibrant lives of young people are “snuffed out” before their time - so heart wrenching, so heart breaking.
This morning as I listened to what people were saying in the media, rather than just hearing the voices of boiling rage and anger, I was also hearing voices of deep sorrow and dismay over the rising wave of violence and racism that seems to be so engulfing this culture and this nation in these days.
I am reminded of something Martin Luther King Jr, said many years ago in the midst of the untamed hatred and boiling rage during those days of the “Civil Rights Movement:”
Hate multiplies hate.
Violence multiplies violence in a descending spiral of destruction
which must be broken or
we shall be plunged into dark annihilation.
Returning violence for violence multiplies violence,
adding darkness to a night already devoid of stars.
Yesterday, in the America of our own times, we all witnessed the enduring truth and profound wisdom of Dr. King’s words. Many of us felt ourselves being pulled down into a descending spiral of destruction as violence was returned with violence, adding "darkness to a night already devoid of stars."
I can only hope and pray that yesterday may have provided us all with yet-another “wake-up call” to break this cycle of destruction or we shall indeed be “plunged into dark annihilation.”
This morning as I browsed through my Facebook feed, I came across a comment posted by a young African-American woman in response to yesterday's “descending spiral:”
We must all love ourselves out of this tangled mess.
Love is our only hope.
I couldn’t agree more!
The Buddha once taught:
All beings tremble before violence
All fear death, All love life
See yourself in others, then whom can you hurt?
What harm can you do?
This morning I want to do more than shake my head or wring my hands over the violent wave of hate sweeping across America. I want to get down on my knees and tremble before the violence.
In my heart of hearts I know that I cannot hate different others because there are no different others - we are one another.