Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Newtown Essay: Light is brighter than dark.

From one of my old friends, reposted with permission from Facebook. Edited only for paragraph spacing. 

I find it odd that everyone is shocked by the murder of the innocent, wide-eyed and hopeful cherubs at Sandy Hook Elementary. It seems everyone is unable to believe that first grade giggles and joyful mischief were cut short by hatred, evil, anger and a rocket-fast pieces of steel. I find myself feeling somehow isolated in my grief, my grief and weeping that did not start Friday, the 14th of December in the year 2012. Rather, my first encounter with crushing sadness was as a small child. I saw a man grab a cat by the tail and throw it over the fence. My first memory of cruelty. My first memory of intense fear of a human action. 

Another time, I remember children screaming in the face of a child that was apparently not up to snuff. Not cool. Different. Abused by other children for her perceived shortcomings. She would rip out her hair in response. Later, gripped by pain as I saw grown-ups’ faces contorted in disgust as they stepped quickly over another human. A human identical to them through my child-like lens save for the dirty, torn clothes and upward palms asking for leftovers, for hope. I remember wanting to stay, to fill their hand but my weight was no match for the fast paced hand gripping mine. The chill of emptiness as I once saw a woman slap a gorgeous toddler across the face in the grocery store. The shock that not all mothers are mommies. A chill as I listened to a girl in middle school explain why Jews are “dirty.” It wasn’t her words I remember. It was her eyes and the crushing squint in the corner of each. A squint that meant more that all the hatred spewing from her mouth. Another lesson by a different dead spirit breathing icy breath into the word “bitch.” Again learning that words hurt and are often intended to destroy to devour and to make useless. 

I learned the face of hatred early in the small ways it makes its presence known here on our earth. I learned that fear can grip your soul and paralyze. I learned that evil is looking to be unleashed with every conceived thought, with every whispered word, with every kinetic motion. I learned that rage is ugly and scary. Like the wild animals instinctively know the early sounds of a storm foreshadow danger, so do the little ones in our midst recognize the repulsiveness of the face of hate and cruelty. The ugliness of darkness and lack of light. 

Like the moment of discovering a marital affair brings to awareness a broken marriage, so have the murders in Newtown invited those of you, lucky enough to have avoided awareness for so long, into the darkness and filth in which we reside. It’s a horrifying and vile place, is it not? This darkness, this vantage point. Like the sting of a slap is this unwelcome wake-up call. We need a rescue plan. We need a Savior. Something to which to cling like mad. Something to make this life bearable. If you are new to this reality, then welcome.

What happened at Sandy Hook Elementary is not novel, it is not unique. It’s only shockingly close to you and you can no longer ignore it. It is only that this particular evil act resulted in irreversible halting of lives. You can’t smooth it over. Can't pretend it didn’t happen. Evil often manifests in ways that are easier for us to ignore. Easier to rationalize. Superiority. Pride. Disdain. Name calling. Hate. Rage. Child abuse. Exploitation. Pornography. Prostitution. 4 year-olds watching bodies being blown up on Xbox. Children listening to parents scream obscenities to each other deep in the night. Facebook posts that might as well just say “fuck you.” 

But here is why we are going to persevere: To recognize light, you must know dark. To receive redemption, you must be broken first. To be rescued, you must first be in peril. We are there? Correct? 
Into this muck a Savior has come. He brings light and life. Love and hope. Joy that is unending and obtainable even in times of profound sadness and grief. He brings promises of renewal and unconditional grace. He brings the ability for each of us, for YOU, to welcome Him into your soul. To become His servant to spread peace, love, light, hope, faith, tenderness to your corner of this dark place. We have choices with every thought we embrace, with every sound we utter, with every gesture we allow. 

Let us fight back, push back this evil that has been rampant since the beginning. Light is brighter than dark. Love heals wounds. Joy washes away tears. Go wild with the loving spirit God has placed within you. Be brazen with gentleness. Allow kindness to hemorrhage over the surface of this broken place. Be certain of His unending love for you and be fearless in spreading His message. Go in peace. Go quickly. Our time here is brief. Our hearts have been broken like His, let us become more and more like Him every day.

Elizabeth H. Tichy, MD

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

How Bacon Rolls and Levi's GoForth

Back home. Had a lovely time. Saw friends. Got lots of writing done. Finally saw Breaking Dawn 2, which was horrible, but I'll cover that later. Today, I have two pre-movie adverts that caught my attention (London theaters run TV commercials or PSAs—very creepy PSA's—before the trailers). Kevin Bacon, center of the universe, second video below, gave me a laugh. The Levis' GoForth campaign, however, is just so young and modern it almost offends my aging soul. These kids have no jobs but somehow think that an attitude and a pair of jeans in an interview hold the key to success? Have we taught them no humility or common sense? None at all?

There are so many Kevin Bacon videos on YouTube, I had to add the British term "advert" to the search to pick this up.