Sisters and brothers,
Today I write you with trembling heart and shaking hands. Last night I had a direct encounter with evil and I don’t think I will ever be the same.
As a child, my mother always warned us of evil and the “work of the devil.” As an adult, I grew out of those threats, thinking of evil as more a reflection of a human being’s unhealed wounds and unresolved fears and less as the dude in the red morph suit with horns on his head and a pitchfork in his hand. Similarly, I have thought of societal evil as being an energy where collective fear had gathered. As a reasonable and logical human being, I don’t want to believe in an external, embodied force of evil, but after last night, I can no longer take evil for granted, but must consider the very real possibility of a force outside of us playing on people’s insecurities and fears and driving them to truly harmful actions.
I will spare you the details of what I read last night. In short someone I had considered a “friend” (as the wife of a dear friend she is really more of an acquaintance and to be honest I don’t think she has ever really liked me – I often caught her giving me the “stink” (evil) eye.) posted a venomous anti-democrat/liberal tirade on FB. To be fair, the same words she used could have been posted as an anti-Republican/conservative rant. The point is that through gross over-generalizations and blanket accusations, blame was laid on the liberals for everything that is wrong in our nation and why they are choosing Trump – as gross, despicable, narcissist, etc. he is as a way of protecting the nation from the “dangerous liberals.” Again, I have seen the very same words used in the other direction for why “liberals” are choosing Biden or a Third-Party Candidate.
The words themselves were not the problem – it was the energy behind them. The energy behind the words and the author’s defense of her position was PURE EVIL. I tried to engage with her, and she immediately accused me of being a troll and threatened me. I assured her I was not a troll, I only wanted to point out that I tend to lean in the liberal direction and I had never done anything like or behaved in any way similar to the accusations she had leveled against all liberals and that neither did I believe every Republican to be evil. I suggested that the only way to solve the problems in our world was to embrace a “we” attitude and work together to find common ground and to seek out solutions that serve us all. She continued to blame, shame, accuse, and eventually quit commenting. I noticed this morning she had deleted my comments. (chicken!)
The post and her refusal to see past the divisive intention and nature of her post shook me. Normally I would just brush it off as the ravings of a myopic human. But the energy of this interaction came into my dreams which were filled with images of “A Handmaid’s Tale” with me in the starring role – being imprisoned, sexually tortured, etc. It was horrible. I was doing battle and just trying to survive. I awoke from the dream trembling, shaking and out of breath. You know when you have a dream where you feel you are stuck in it and cannot get out and when you finally arrive back in the waking world you are aware of how hard you fought and how long the journey was to escape that dimension? It was like moving through wet cement returning to an awakened state. I had to take Lorazepam to calm down.
It was as I was coming out of that dream that I became aware of the presence of (what I thought to be) evil. I saw it as a tall, thin, insect-like man. He had grey, smooth, snake-like skin but had the appearance of a tall praying mantis or walking stick insect. I was initially terrified by the specter of this “being,” but decided to sit with “him” rather than run. A “conversation” unfolded and the fearful specter became more benign, even gentle. The essence of what he had to say to me was, “I’m just doing my job. I’m only doing what I’m told.”
I’m still trying to make sense of it, but my sense in this moment is that the grey insect-like man is a “worker” for a larger force/energy that is hell (pun intended)-bent on causing division. This division is being sown on both “sides” of the political discussion and placing many in the position of only being able to see through their own lens and with their own perspective – unable to sit down with who they perceive to be “the other” to find (as I suggested) common ground. This energy of division is purposefully tearing us apart for their own gain. There are those who favor a people divided because as the old adage says, “Divided we fall.” Someone wants us to fall and is using division to make sure that we do.
Now we arrive at the point of my whole post: With all our being we must resist the temptation to divide! With that, I will be the first to admit my own tendencies to divide. I am painfully aware of all the times I have used language using “us and them.” In the troubles that are currently facing our world, we cannot be divided – we must find a way to seek out WE. We are also responsible on some level for the troubles that face our world – whether we are complicit or guilty by omission. Because WE created the problems, only WE can solve them.
This begins first with ourselves by exploring all the ways we are tempted to point the finger of blame at a certain political group, making mass assumptions of a party based on the actions of a fearful or evil few. We must also be accountable to the ways in which we may have purposefully or inadvertently participated in or created separation. Who and how do we judge? What actions have come forth out of that judgment? What labels have we entertained and what assumptions have we made about someone because of their political affiliation?
Let me offer a personal and transparent example. Many would consider me to be a “bleeding heart liberal” because I am a proponent of universal healthcare, an advocate for funding public education, and decidedly pro-choice. Because of these two points people have made assumptions about my politics and my reasoning and intelligence – making assumptions about where I stand on certain topics and assuming I’m not taking the time to become well-informed. I cannot tell you how many have made incorrect assumptions based on these three positions that I hold dear. Conversely, I have been tempted to make certain assumptions about those who call themselves Republican, Libertarian, or Independent but I have learned through my relationships with people who align these ways, that I cannot assume, for example, that all Republicans support a civilian militia armed with AK-47’s “policing” our streets. Just because one guy drives up and down Main St. waiving the Trump/AK-47 flag doesn’t mean any other Republican believes this is ok.
Division is the weapon of evil and we need to do all we can to a) not give into the temptation to divide and b) heal the division that we see.
Last night, I did everything I could to try with my “friend” but sadly she was unable or unwilling to explore the possibility that she might discover common ground with those she sought to condemn. While it is the hardest thing to do, I will keep trying. But at the end of the day, if some are unwilling to seek out “We” instead of “They” all I can do is shake the dust off my feet and walk away while praying for the healing of the division that is trying to tear us apart.