Friday, July 29, 2011

A Moment

I’m waiting to turn right at a red light. There’s a truck in front of me with two cowboy hat wearing 20-something men. I’m not in a rush. I don’t inch forward, hoping that somehow the light will sense my impatience and turn green. I’m not trying to edge the truck into the crosswalk so I can snake around him. I’m just sitting. A model of Zen.

The guys in front of me, they’re different than I am. They like music that makes me want to pour acid in my ears. They think a few scraggly hairs on a chin is called a “goatee”, I think it’s called “go shave until you grow up”. They drive a truck and wear cowboy hats. In suburban Big City USA.

But the driver glances at my “got all day” face, pulls his truck hard to the left and edges out a bit. I have a wide turn lane, now. And as I ease forward, I roll down my window, wave and call, “Thank you!”

They wave and call, “Welcome!” back.

I like them.

It’s funny how quickly I can remember that I do, in fact, think human beings have mostly evolved and are mostly worth the sheer energy that required, back when we crawled from whatever DNA swamp that was.

Except Glenn Beck.

I’m so sorry, Norway. I feel heartsick and I wish I could be there to commune with you. I wish I could help.

And I’m sorry that people like Glenn Beck get their ugly faces plastered all over the news, spewing their hatred.

I’m also sorry that he claims a part of the same church I believe in.

In the history of my church we tell a story. In the 1800’s, members of this church were driven from their homes, had their belongings burned, stolen, etc. They were forced to move. During the winter exodus, many people died, most of them were the ones we feel most protective of: the children, the grandparents, the women giving birth. One family carried with them a daughter they knew to be dying. She hadn’t eaten in days. Well, none of them had, but when you’ve got a sick child who won’t eat, well, you know the panic. They passed a farm that still had a few potatoes in the ground. The girl saw the potatoes and begged her parents for one. The father, cap in hand, approached the door to the farmhouse.

Now, here’s a moment for you. It could be beautiful. “Yes,” says the farmer. “Bring your daughter inside. Sit her by the fire. I’ll get the potatoes.”

There are stories like that.

But this is not one of them.

The farmer ran the father off his property.

And I wonder. How did the father not let hate consume him? How did the father return to the wagon, to his wife with her mother’s heart dying, and his daughter who only wanted one small potato, and how did he not fill his life with fury?

I wonder if Norway will be filled with hate, now. Or if they will close their ears to the sound of the Glenn Becks, the stupid, ignorant voices of men who have more screen time than brains. I hope so. Because there are those of us out here who would give whatever we could, if we knew how.