And that was how the news of Osama Bin Laden’s death reached me. Lying in bed, barely awake.
What is this new chapter about? Well, it starts with people are throwing parties about more death. About people believing that violence has the power to solve a problem. When has that ever worked? It simply moves the problem somewhere else, most notably into our hearts, where it festers as a false notion of self-righteousness and power and where we call it “justice.”
If you listen to the news reports, you might think that everyone in this country is blood thirsty, bent on revenge, and simplistic in their view of justice. Even President Obama disappointed me with his comments, and I usually consider him a voice of reason. Despite deciding last week that I was going to take a hiatus from Facebook (I simply felt it was distracting and not really adding anything to my life in a meaningful way), this morning I turned to my Facebook news feed, hoping others there might feel as I did.
My friends came through.
First, from Dan in Alaska: “How many lives lost? How many people still dying? I’m not cheering.”
His wife, Adrian “wonders if the death of one man, any man, would be enough to end a war and/or warrant celebration. I find myself holding my breath instead.”
My wise friend Kendall in Montana “is a little disturbed by the glee being expressed at bin Laden’s death. Something terrible has happened to us as a people when we are overjoyed at the death of another human being, no matter how horrible a person he may have been.”
Admittedly, there were a few who hold up this event as a reason to be “proud to be American.” Me? I feel it is a reason to be somber about being a human being.
I am not suggesting that we should have excused Bin Laden for his continued and relentless attack on other human beings. I am not suggesting he was not a reasonable “target” for military action.
My husband Scott put it very well one time. He said that he feels that we only resort to violence because we are not wise enough to figure out another solution. There are other solutions, if only we could be full of enough grace and peace and humility to find them.
I choose not to react to the death of another human being with flag waving, with celebrating, with an upswell of pride. Instead, I offer a humble moment of silence. A plea for mercy for the limitations of we humans who can’t seem to get it right.
Let the next chapter begin. God help us.