Tuesday, July 25, 2006

I Don't Want to be Afraid

I wonder what it will take for people to stop killing each other.

I turned on the TV the other day. There was blood coming out of it. A mother held her lifeless baby in her arms and wailed, wide-eyed with disbelief, moving her head back and forth as if looking to get someone to tell her why.

I hope that she is sleeping so she can forget about her pain for a while. But maybe it's worse to sleep, because when she wakes up, it will only take a few seconds for her to remember that her baby, herself, her life, is gone. And then the grief will overcome her again. Who knows for how long.

I think that fear is very powerful. And I think that it is the basic, stripped-down reason that people kill each other and countries go to war.

We are afraid of losing some imagined, static state of happiness or goodness -- like little children who cry when they must leave the park at dusk and go home to bed. But we are not meant to hold on to these things. They aren't real anyway.

Is a border real? It is just a line on a map and it can and does change. In my childhood, there was a border that made Germany schizophrenic. But it's gone now.

If too many Muslims mix with Jews, will their religions change? Maybe. Maybe religions are supposed to change. Maybe when they mix they will see their sameness.

What if George Bush talked to Osama bin Laden? If he called a meeting and asked him why he is afraid, what American goodness would we surrender?

I wish I could stop being afraid.

I wish we could stop being afraid.

If we weren't afraid, we would not want to kill each other.