Hold, Carry, and Don’t Kill Anybody

silk floss tree
A silk floss tree in bloom. Photo by Daniel Orth; used under Creative Commons attribution license.

Some days it’s possible to maintain an awareness that we’re really here to connect with that divine spark inside our fellow human beings and all of creation, to notice the miracle in the profoundly pink blossoms of a silk floss tree, to be kind, be kind, be kind. Some days, I might even see the value in loving my enemies. And other days, it’s all I can do to keep from throttling my friends.

I used to think the friend-almost-throttling days were a failure, but maybe not; maybe, for that day, they’re a tremendous success. After all, no strangulation occurred. Maybe grinding my teeth and doing nothing on the less enlightened days is as much a step toward loving my enemies as being kind is on the easier days.

Ronald Rolheiser said the first thing that ever made sense to me about Jesus on the cross, which is that he demonstrated how to hold, carry and transform whatever hurtful energy is directed at us. We are a mirroring species. If someone glances up to see a passing bird, we glance up, too. If someone likes us, we tend to like them, and if they dislike us, we usually return the favor.

So to really change anything rather than just reflect back what we get, we have to hold, carry and transform that energy. I don’t know why, but I think our capacity to do that is not the same every day. My conception of my best used to be that every day I would be the most efficient, disciplined and intelligent achiever of things that I could imagine. Now, I’m pretty sure that I’ll never reach what I can imagine, and I’m convinced that some days will be impressive and some will be of the not throttling variety.

But not throttling still contains an iota of holding, carrying and transforming, and it’s a lot better than the alternative.

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