Friday, January 25, 2013

When Given a Choice, Choose Joy

How did we get back to this kind of terrified hatred after Kumbaya and Blowin' In the Wind?

It is so strange to listen to how different people feel about the catastrophic imminent endings that are being so widely predicted today. A male friend who served in Vietnam, and spends his life helping the vulnerable in the New Orleans area, gave up on religion many years ago. The defining moment was when a priest banished a black family from his all white congregation's Mass. He recently pointed out that he found it strange that the people who seem most afraid of death are so often those who proclaim themselves to be most religious.

I was with a group of women at my pottery class yesterday, and we got on the subject of how our husbands are reacting to all the fear-mongering rhetoric that is saturating the media today. Several of the women spoke of how their husbands are arming themselves and obsessing over how to defend themselves and their families. Most of we women agreed that we'd rather be dead than live in a bunker without our families and friends.

Perhaps we need an end times scare every so often to get our relationships in order. Isn't that the energy that was the catalyst for the early Christians? Didn't they firmly believe that the end was coming in their own lifetimes? The difference today seems to be that we are buying guns and filling our airways and minds with fear and hatred. The early Christians were getting together to pray and do good works, hoping to bring more people to heaven with them through sharing of their faith.

What if all people of passionate faith were to sing songs of praise as we reach out to all who seem scared or angry and really listen to what their fears are? What if we would turn off the angry rhetoric and music and fill our ears with the joyful songs, voices, and laughter of children, birds, breezes, waves, and each other? What if we made up our minds to go out singing and dancing, no matter when the end hits us?

Sure, people may say we're crazy, but isn't all the fear driving us crazy anyway? Life is choices. I choose joy.

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