I’m not waiting for the president and neither are you. We the people are exercising our right to love. I’m not black, I don’t live in your situation, so forgive me for any ignorance on my part. I’m writing because I feel we have a great opportunity to change our country for the better.
Our current President, through his lack of response to our suffering, transfers power from him to us. Power by itself has no will, no guidance, do direction. In the Bible there are two powerful players, Jesus and Satan. One is love (not my point of view, Jesus himself said, “God is love.”) and the other is hate. We are at a moment, another moment among many in the past, where real change can happen or we can “get back to normal”.
Do we really want to go back to that more than uncomfortable normal? We act and pray for justice, but there has to be more. Justice can be a way to get back to uncomfortable normal, or a tool for real change, but justice is the last line of defense. In many cases it’s too late. To paraphrase the 38th verse of the Tao Te Ching:
When love is lost,
When virtue is lost,
When morality is lost,
law and justice remain.
Justice won’t bring back George Floyd. If justice just is a feel good moment, a placating victory, that makes us return to normal then nothing will change and George Floyd’s death will fade into the past like too many other deaths. Some of the dying words of Jesus were, “Forgive them for they know not what they do.” If we want real and lasting change then we must include in our love the people who are killing us. When the sea parted by Moses closed in on the advancing Egyptians, the angels in Heaven were about to sing, but God stops them and said, “There is no glory in this, they too are my children.”
We need to see each other as children of God. We don’t have to love the action, but we have to love the child of God. If you aren’t religious, then see the humanity in the human being. See the common suffering and it’s origin. If we see an enemy, if we only judge, then we ignore the other symptoms of the disease and become blind to the cause. Some of us take fear and anger and turn it into love. Some of us take fear and anger and turn it into hate. Both responses are human. We need to be like good doctors and look for the source of hate through the symptoms. Then, like creating a vaccine, we can take the disease and transform it into prevention and cure.
The source of hate is fear. If we really believe in Jesus then we must believe and trust in his way. He took hate and transformed it into greater love. He didn’t destroy his killers, he didn’t persecute them, he forgave them. His death was not a failure, it was a transcendent victory over hate, first inside of himself and then outside.
I want to know where Derek Chauvin’s pain came from. How did he go from a protector of the people to a murderer? In understanding him, and others like him, we will be able to prevent others from incubating hate that results in murder. Both Floyd’s death and Chauvin’s murderous actions are rooted in pain. Beyond forgiving there has to be a path to sustainable peace and love.
Fear for survival, not just physical survival, but survival of pride, culture, identity, ideology, can blind us to our basic humanity. All the things that make us human can be celebrated if we simply appreciate our differences through our shared humanity. I’m using mostly a Christian context because as a minister of Aloha it is my context. However that doesn’t mean I don’t honor other faiths. All paths to God and love are beautiful. In the parable of the Good Samaritan Jesus makes a point of using the enemy of the Jew as the kind and compassionate brother while those of the same faith fail as the opposite. Our neighbor is the one that shows us kindness and compassion. And notice there was no attempt at conversion in the parable, there was appreciation. Compassion means to be present with the suffering of other people. We kneel, cry, chant, pray, vote, legislate and transform our pain into love. If we cannot do this then the deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Marin Luther King, and Jesus and all the other innocent deaths in the world will be wasted.
I see George Floyd as what the Catholics call a Victim Soul. A Victim Soul is someone who sacrificed their life to teach compassion. In Buddhist terms he is a Bodhisattva. A Bodhisattva serves the same purpose. Floyd obviously did not chose to be either, and I in no way want to down play his tragedy or humanity, instead I wish to offer a view to transform the senselessness of his death into something that his death is doing anyway, which is to increase the love, compassion, and kindness in this world.
We here at this moment can start a wave of change for every innocent death be it from racism, starvation, sex slavery, class division, preventable and treatable disease; if we come from our basic humanity. I am from Hawaii and we in Hawaii call our home the Land Of Aloha, but if you drain the oceans were is it not the Land Of Aloha? Aloha is everywhere and in everyone. Aloha isn’t just a greeting. Aloha comes from the Aramaic word for the Divine which which is Aloho or Alaha depending on the dialect. Aloha is the breath of God that breathed life into Adam. Every living human is alive because of that breath, so if you can’t breathe at the thought of Floyd’s murder, it’s because there is much more than air you want. When we can’t breathe, we can’t love, and when you stop someone from breathing then you are stopping God from giving them the gift of life and love. We are better than that. We need to remember and honor the Aloha that we are. It is said we are created in the image and likeness of God, we’ll if I take Jesus at his word then God is Love, and we are the image and likeness of Love. Let’s live up to Gods image of us.