Day 36 Page 2 “Brussels’ bombings”–Again, our hearts and souls are crushed by inconceivable violence. There is no explanation. Dead and wounded litter the byways of Brussels. There is no salve to heal the wounds of this insult to the human soul. The dead are dead. The wounded will live forever with their wounds. The grieving will grieve without respite. And never, never will this make sense.
I recall the opening quatrain of a poem by Emily Dickinson that seems to capture this complex, existential present (from “Last Night”)–
The last Night that She lived
It was a Common Night
Except the Dying—this to Us
Made Nature different
It was a common day in Brussels, except for the dying—now everything is different. We awaken to a different world, a sadder world, an ever more complicated world. Oh that the elegant words of a poem could carry the dying away.
Alas, forgive me Lord, for I have sinned, for in my heart I respond to this violence with violence in my heart, wishing to crush the life from those who so blaspheme. So, in me, blasphemy begets blasphemy and so goes the broken spiral of the Fall. Forgive me Lord, for I know my sin only too well.
The Psalm appointed for this day in Holy Week offers a point for reflection:
1 In you, O Lord, have I taken refuge; *
let me never be ashamed.
2 In your righteousness, deliver me and set me free; *
incline your ear to me and save me.
3 Be my strong rock, a castle to keep me safe; *
you are my crag and my stronghold.
4 Deliver me, my God, from the hand of the wicked, *
from the clutches of the evildoer and the oppressor.
5 For you are my hope, O Lord God, *
my confidence since I was young.
6 I have been sustained by you ever since I was born;
from my mother’s womb you have been my strength; *
my praise shall be always of you.
7 I have become a portent to many; *
but you are my refuge and my strength.
8 Let my mouth be full of your praise *
and your glory all the day long.
9 Do not cast me off in my old age; *
forsake me not when my strength fails.
10 For my enemies are talking against me, *
and those who lie in wait for my life take counsel together.
11 They say, “God has forsaken him;
go after him and seize him; *
because there is none who will save.”
12 O God, be not far from me; *
come quickly to help me, O my God.
13 Let those who set themselves against me be put to shame and be disgraced; *let those who seek to do me evil be covered with scorn and reproach.
14 But I shall always wait in patience, *
and shall praise you more and more.
Let me hear your words God.
Let me know your presence.
Let me embrace your patience.
Meanwhile, God, relieve me of the desire for human revenge even as I require human justice against those who acted with such callous disregard and arrogance against all humanity.