This is a side note, but for any of my regular readers I have been purposely not discussing the war in Iraq and the Bush Administration because I don’t want to the bad guys to win. I know that seems strange to say but I mean it.

What I mean by that is the battle for my heart and mind. I am by nature a very emotional person and if I dwell on the bad going on this world too much (and particularly the bad things that I believe my own government is doing) I am overwhelmed. I shut down and sink into a horrible state of mind.

I can’t let this happen. There is too much good that needs to be done, even if it is only acts of futility against a monolithic machine of death and destruction. Maybe there is no hope but I would rather do some good in the meantime that to focus on the hopelessness, and that is why I choose to try to keep my eyes on the bits of light (no matter how faint they sometimes seem) than to drown in the dark.

However, it is a challenge though to keep this attitude without living in fantasyland. As tempting as it may be to retreat from the fray, I feel like that we must also face the darkness sometimes too, to know that there is evil in this world and to actively work against it with good. (There were lots of of good white people who lived during the days of Jim Crow who looked the other way. They didn’t like the bad things that happened to their black brothers and sisters but they didn’t know what to do.) I just don’t always know how to face the evil headon without drowning in it.

Most of all I want to be able to “love the sinner and hate the sin” as the saying goes, but I find this hard to do. It is hard to remember that George Bush, John Ashcroft, Donald Rumsfeld, and the rest are human beings made in the image of God when to me they do such horrible things (I know that many of my readers don’t agree with my assessment of their actions, but I’m expressing what I believe in my heart.), causing so much death, so much suffering. The anger rises up in me like an out of control gushing oil well that has caught fire, it rages with intensity, and before I know it, it eats me from the inside out. The rage destroys the best of what is in me, it takes away my joy, my hope, my peace. It leaves me empty and wrecked.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that I’m trying to seperate my indignation with injustice and oppression, from my feelings towards those who are acting to facilitate those things, and to some extent sometimes it is easier to simply not focus on the bad things in this world 24/7.

Along with that though I’m trying to nurture a heart that longs for the good. It is just very little things sometimes but I want to be truly awake mentally and spiritually, to see God in everything, to love the yellow fall leaves on the elm trees on campus, to be drawn to worship by seeing the Oklahoma sky in all its glory. I want to be passionate about learning, to savor the best of everything. — You know this will sound like a weird segue, but one of the things in that line that I have been doing is that I have been purposely only listening to the second half hour of NPR’s All Things considered when I’m driving. The reason I do that is because in the second half hour they’ve finished talking about all of the horrible things that are happening in this world, the injustices, the evil. So, now they talk about the delightful, they have segments on school cafeterias that serve the students healthful organic food, they have stories on great jazz musicians, on small town life, on all kinds of stuff. It is that kind of programming that to me awakens in my self the wonder and joy in all that is good, all that is interesting.

BTW, talking about NPR stories here are a few that might be interesting…

  • Electronic Bugles Incite ‘Bugler Backlash’
  • ‘Prairie Diaries’: Matt YbarraNov. 10, 2003 — On Oct. 11, 2001, more than 5,000 Kansans took part in a project called “A Day in My Community.” Residents kept a diary for a single day, to leave a historical record of their lives at the beginning of the millennium. In the latest story in the Prairie Diaries series, student athlete Matt Ybarra discusses the importance of high school sports in small-town life.
  • The Savvy Traveler — an excellent travel program on NPR