Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Sanctuary, Part 2 ...The media seems to thrive on spinning darkness like a web. How do we escape it? What is the baggage I carry even now, the images from our violent culture, the films and the shows I am drinking in, perhaps heedless of the poison they carry? We have been so bombarded by the media with images of violence, death, and terror. The very real events of war, genocide, and murder that are transpiring sporadically around the globe are selectively gathered up by the media and splashed almost instantaneously into our living rooms. It is shock and awe. Digging up death is sometimes the full time work of media personnel. But when these real events become the story lines for our "entertainment," have we crossed a line? It's this time of the year, as Halloween approaches, that more horror films are released. These "thrillers" are pounded out in teaser trailers that have so much adrenaline, gore and flashy sound bytes that it is a wonder more heart attacks aren't happening in the theaters. Violence for the sake of violence... Do we need this? Is it necessary for us to experience? Does the experience cultivate a respect for life, or does it cheapen life? The question I want to pose today is this: Where do you go for sanctuary? Where is the place you can go where there is life, peace, stillness? We must have this tonic of stillness for our bodies and our souls. We must have a sanctuary. A place that is so strong, it takes the poison of this "culture of death" right out through our pores. I believe it starts with a walk into the woods. The opening of a chapel door on a quiet afternoon. The morning coffee beside a window when the sun is slowly lifting up her head again, despite the shadows of yesterday. Then we can rise as well. It starts with an attitude of stillness and listening... the leaning of the heart's ear toward the Divine Whisper. It's been reported that some of the Amish families caught in the terror of this week's school shooting in Paradise, PA have had their community meetings. They are asking the question, on the green grass of their land, in the cool of the evening, in the stillness, what can we do for the family of the man who killed our own? How can we support his wife and children? This kind of compassion, this mind-boggling love is what is newsworthy. This kind of reaction to terror and death is heroic. It's born from a stillness and a listening to the beating of the human heart that I fear many of us have yet to hear and to recognize. I stumbled on this reflection long ago, and it still holds such beauty: Empty, yet full of power, it seems as nothing, but envelops everything. Silence, the roar of it deafens; shatters upon the soul in waves. One is not able to stand in its mystery. It scours like the ferocious whirling of the desert sand, laying waste all that lies before it. It reveals pain, loss, vulnerability, and weakness. The world tries to cover it, smother it with noise and activity. The world tries to silence the silence. But a few allow it to strip them, to let it reveal to them the beauty of its majesty. A beauty which is found in them also, deep within all, if only they would allow themselves to enter the white-hot furnace of silence. Therein much is revealed and all is made new. - Anonymous

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