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Moods Cloak, Emotions Flitter: Thoughts regarding Faith and Vengeance

August 6, 2010

“In whatever kind of a “race” life may be, I have very abruptly become a finalist.”
— Hitchens

Emotions are quick, here and gone, but moods settle upon us like cloaks of fog, obscuring the true lay of the land. Emotions, because they are fleeting, can be worked around, but moods linger, tacky at times, like the stickiness of a thick maple syrup or worse (because we could at least lick the sweet stickiness from our fingers) the flypaper tackiness designed to trap and kill (what positive is there in that?). Sometimes we awaken with the mood that will not lift, some tattered remnant of a dream half-remembered and we are stuck, teetering on an abyss that came from nowhere and makes no sense.

Those, those times where tendrils of dreams wrap around us, pull at us, weigh us down, but offer no convincing reason for a mood so bleak, are frustrating times. If we could but see the reason for the mood, we could work at getting out from under it.

Other times, we find ourselves slipping into the mood because we have chosen to spend too much time in the angry places and we become convinced of the nastiness that must be inherent in man’s nature that we see it played out day after day, time after time.

And still, it is both of these, the mood that has settled like Potter’s invisibility cloak upon our own shoulders, from things not physically real, but conjured things from the caverns of our subconscious, and the dwelling in the angry places, and added to that, the real world pains we face, and the pain of friends, and we could all but drown in it if we allowed ourselves that option.

I think that some do just that, find themselves in the abyss and then reinforce it. I think those that truly dwell in the angry places, vent there, choose that cloak. Most of us are like the people in Frost’s “Out, Out–“: “And they, since they Were not the one dead, turned to their affairs.”

We do, do we not? We watch the news, see the horrors of the world, and we turn away, as we should. As we must.  And yet, to linger there a moment, to take the time to feel the pain that must be felt for compassion to be felt is an absolute necessity. Perhaps more should linger there, and then vengeance and hate would not fill them? I don’t know, but I think that compassion is not something they often feel.

So here, you see, is my mood, one that permeates my day, my thoughts. Not quite on the edge of an abyss. No real taste of despair, but instead the heart-hurt for friends who suffer and grieve at losses both fresh and old, for friends who deal with difficulties and who worry over their loved ones’ suffering.  It lays across my day and touches everything. And perhaps that is good, to have a day spent in contemplation, in thought of others for whom I can do nothing other than think kind thoughts, no action possible but the offer of compassion.

There is also, layered within this, the continual amazement and dismay at what people will place out there, what they will believe and then say and do in the pursuit of that belief.

I woke in this mood and saw it built upon, and now work to divest myself of it in the sharing of it. I watched this morning, before venturing out on errands, and have chewed upon it, all morning, an interview Christopher Hitchens gave Anderson Cooper and a piece he wrote in Vanity Fair.

Christopher Hitchens lives life full-tilt and is always interesting to listen to and to read. He’s battling esophageal cancer, and folks out there, as he says, are praying for him to suffer and die, while others are praying for his health, and others praying for his salvation (and still others both his healing and his salvation).

Others demonstrate the rage and vitriol that fill way too many “believers” of all sorts of things from a sky-daddy who throws thunderbolts at people who dare to deny his existence and yet somehow lets pedophiles, murderers and rapists wander the earth wreaking terrible havoc on innocents to the idea that somehow the governments of  the world, big pharma, and dedicated medical researchers and doctors have all colluded to give children autism through vaccines, as a way of “depopulatingthe world.

While many people of faith offer sincere prayers and provide evidence that they walk the walk, others display the same kind of vitriol that we see far too often at the angry places. And all of this leaves my heart hurting.

Some people post that when he’s dead, he’ll get his comeuppance (though not said nearly so charitably as that), and I think, wow, way to represent. Belief in a god doesn’t mean a person will follow Jesus’s teachings. Doesn’t mean compassion and care will be displayed. Indeed, many Christians online have pondered whether they should pray for an unbeliever. I’m guessing they missed out on Jesus’s teachings, then.

Compassion, care, respect: these should be given regardless. Forgiveness and charity are not dependent on the person being forgiven nor to whom charity is being shown. In acts of faith, in demonstration of beliefs, it really is all about the person doing the act. If you truly believe in Christ, then you act as Christ would. And yet, all too many Christians demonstrate that they don’t get that.

Hitchens is a prominent atheist and avows that he will not make a deathbed conversion to faith so long as he is lucid. As he has lived, so too shall he face his mortality. This is as it should be.

We all need a bedrock, something we can fall back on that will hold us, will give us the strength to face what needs to be faced. If we have that, whatever that bedrock is, we don’t need or want vengeance.

I do not believe that there is a creator. I’d be happy to reconsider should any such creator like to convince me  I’m wrong, but I’ll be honest and admit that I would be far more likely to credit a misfiring brain for any voice heard proclaiming to be God or any visual manifestation of such a thing. I do not scoff at those who have faith and who lead lives that demonstrate the love, charity, and compassion that their faith demands of them. I don’t feel a need for vengeance, either, for those whose faith and beliefs have them hurling vitriol and worse.

And because I cannot let this mood shatter my day, nor yours, and because I am wholly irreverent and with a twisted sense of humor, I leave you with my all time favorite Shatner song:

Hah, and my mood has passed!

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