Abject Terror

I write this just days after Hamas terrorists attacked Israel, committed war crimes, killing and kidnapping innocent Israelis, many of them young adults.

There is a pallor that sets into my life after such events because I personally know the depth of the grief that the loss of a child will bring to more than a thousand families for the rest of their lives. We naturally attach some of our love to losses that resonate with our scarred own souls. I know that anniversaries and milestones will never again have the joy or celebration that good families deserve. These families lives will always have a dark shadow, and they may struggle to see love of life, for a long time, if ever.

The world is not yet done with the losses that this event has wrought upon us. War is inevitable on multiple fronts, more innocent people wishing and trying their best to live in peace will die, more families will lose loved ones. More scarred souls and innocent victims of hatred.

I understand and speak of love as invisible life force energy, and of anger as a cancer that destroys love in our world. I speak of hatred as a metastasis of that cancer of anger that destroys societies and consumes the life force energy of love.

We will collectively grieve, we will collectively offer our thoughts, prayers and condolences, and we will soon enough disappear from those horrifically damaged lives and return to our own islands of comfortable peace and safety. We will feel good about ourselves and warmed by thinking that we have done something by caring, yet we have virtually done nothing to prevent another such event.  

We will be worn down by media coverage of the thousand of tragedies that have occurred, of images of the war being waged on terrorists, a war that will terrorize and destroy many who are just struggling to find their own peace and were caught in the crossfire between terror and peace.

These failures are our failures. We end wars in some form of tolerable but perpetually unstable peace, rather than lasting enforceable accepted peace for all sides.

Today I speak to you about resolve, because without a global resolve for peace we will always have war. There will always be the cancer of anger and hatred, so we must join together to become global oncologists for societies if we ever want a world resolved to lasting peace.

We expect too much of humanity, and we take too little responsibility, if we expect that people without options, people without hope backed into the darkest corners of the world will have the means, will and stamina to deny the tumours of terrorism that infiltrate and infect their society.

And we expect too much if we think that war will fix this. War might be the chemotherapy that kills most of the tumour, but we need the stunningly bright radiation of our collective love to follow war, to teach and build peace and security in a place where cancer thrived. We need legions of our best and most compassionate teachers to overwhelm our world’s worst failures to follow on the heels of our toughest warriors.  

A terrorist has a soul, because every human has a soul. But, the terrorist soul is devoid of any love, it is a black hole that sucks in and burns all of the love it contacts. We have no way to turn a brain tumour back to brain, and we have no ideology or methodology to turn a terrorist back to human.

So, like the malignant melanoma that once occupied my cheek, we need to as surgically as possible excise the cancer of terrorism while doing as little damage as possible to the body that the cancer chose as an innocent host. Then we must remain vigilant and ever resolve to avoid recurrence of this cancer. My cancer was simple, the cancer of terrorism is not curable, it will recur and must be better managed.

Look around the world today. The numbers of wars, the daunting numbers of casualties and displaced people represent danger. People backed into corners without hope are the most fertile ground for the seeds of terrorism.

Today, there are thousands more people who have lost hope of their lives ever being normal again. No one recovers from the loss of a child, no one recovers from the wrongful death of a loved one. We struggle, find strength, and we become powerful enough to fool you into believing that we got over it, because you’re just not prepared to handle the weight of our losses.

We need something more than your thoughts and prayers. We need your resolve, we need your interest, time, and the energy of your love directed towards the parts of the world that need your love the most.

Because, in the end, resolving to end a problem is one of the greatest forms of love, and love is the most formidable power on our planet. Let’s resolve to do better, resolve to have fewer innocent victims, resolve to excise and extinguish hatred.

Hatred will never back down, it is cancer. So, we must look hatred in the eye and destroy it with our love of life, helping others to build lives that they can love.  You have the choice between love and hate, every minute of every day. Please resolve to choose only love, make the world a better place.

Strange Things Happen

September 2000, we were in Kennebunkport for a week away as a couple after a very busy and successful time in my small business. Life was good, very good. Our kids were safe at home in the care of their grandmother.

It was a blustery cool day as we walked the shore and listened to the surf.

I had a new high end (for the time) digital camera, and was snapping pictures. Many great shots, then suddenly every picture I snapped appeared strangely warped, fuzzy, out of focus. I figured some sort of mechanical or optical failure, so after more than twenty bad pictures, I stopped snapping pictures and we headed back to our hotel for lunch. As we arrived at the hotel, there was a message for me to urgently call my sister-in-law three time zones away in western Canada.

The call brought news that my brother Mike had hung himself that morning while she drove their two children to school.  Mile was a jovial, smart, driven, successful person, the guy who always had a big smile at family gatherings, who was always talking of the future he aspired to for himself and his family. No prior history of mental illness, no past attempts, no warning signs or calls for help.

The toughest series of phone calls came next. Calling our mother, father, brother, and sister with the news and tasking them with spreading the news to other relatives. Then hurried packing and an eight hour drive to our home, to our children to break the news in person before I left the next morning to see my parents in person.

By some strange serendipity, Kennebunkport was where Mike and his bride had honeymooned. Our drive home took us past many waypoints in Mikes life, places he went to school, places we had sailed together, places we had skied together, places important to our family life together.

Death triggers an exhausting flurry of social, travel, financial and bureaucratic activity. So, it was weeks later when I decided to send the blurry digital camera back for repair. I took it out and snapped a few pictures and it worked perfectly, shot after shot. In the many years I used it afterwards, every shot was great, the warped blurry images never returned in many thousands of pictures.

Only then did I connect that the time when the camera had failed was almost exactly the time that Mike had killed himself. When I thought of that, I wrote it off as coincidence. I am a technician, I am male, I am a science based person, I was not by any stretch what one could call spiritual. At that time, I had no explanation for a self-healing camera.

The coming years would change my thinking about life and love, and open understanding that would explain the phenomena I had observed with the pictures I took at the time my brother killed himself, at the time was his widow was reaching out to me for my assistance.

Two plus decades later, I am convinced that the most powerful unseen and therefore unexplained force or energy in our universe is this thing we humans call love. This book is a vulnerable sharing of my awakening and my explorations and explanations for what I have observed and felt through grief through several untimely and unexpected losses of the coming years.

Grief became my teacher, grief became my guide, grief showed me my soul completely emptied and then again overfilled. I wrote a journal, I have a near photographic memory, I remember it all and with time I could begin to put some of the pieces of what love is and what love does.

Grief is now a beautiful part of me, not just a collection of wounds and scars, but a beautiful garden that I have built in my soul for all those that I have loved and lost.  A garden where I can escape the physical world and peacefully understand that love continues long past our death, perhaps for an eternity in the souls of those who have loved us and their descendants.