Monday, March 10, 2014

Staring at Violence

So I have been trying to be present to God, to recognize the nudges, to stay awake to how God wants to shape me. I am working on my judging ways, the ways I need to be right, and how I also then need someone else to be wrong, the ways I hear others through the muffling layers of righteousness I carry around.

This is the work of Lent for me this year. In a way, it is an extension of my goal on the yoga mat this year - to increase the distance between my ear lobes and my shoulders - an opening that leaves me more exposed and vulnerable, more open and light, too.

Not sackcloth and ashes, but an awareness I carry in this season of examination and penance.

So this weekend, while sitting around a cafe table, discussing Rene Girard, violence and theories of atonement. I was wrapping my head around the omnipresence of all kinds violence, wondering why in 2000 years, we still haven't gotten it figured out.

And there it was. In my drive to be right, in my attempts to know truth at the expense of hearing another, I commit violent acts of suppression, of shunning, of failure to hear and respect. And those acts turn my attention toward my own needs for power and superiority and away from the truth I want to uphold. 

And I am aware that this violence is all around me every day. Not in dribs and drabs, but by the bucketful. In nearly every person I encounter.

And it is likely that this is who we have learned to be as humans. 

So to unlearn? How to find ways of being with another without suppression and without submission?

This Lent thing is hard.

Lord, help me be present to those around me and aware of the things that make me tick. Help me find a third, fifth, seventh way that honors truth. Help me see the potential for violence and stop me in my tracks so that I do no harm.

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