In the COMMENTS section of one of my favorite writers about those tortured and left for dead in Guantanamo, a faithful reader of his blogs, Frances Madeson, has written a beautiful tribute to this writer. Frances says the following, today, February 16, 2009, of Andy Worthington and his work
(To Andy): In addition to everything else your work has been, it is an act of unconditional love to the whole wide world. You have loved your neighbor as yourself, and you are, as a result, golden. Innocence can never be restored; our rose colored glasses have been crushed into a fine powder. But they have been replaced by depth perception and ocular clarity, which will serve us far better going forward, as we must.
Find the entire article and the Comments section here and/or go to the post here just below...
Shortly before my mother-in-law died, our minister preached on 1 Corinthians 13 in the New Testament of the Christian bible. This beautiful section of scripture which speaks so poetically of unconditional love -- provided the nurture which helped me to get through a grueling 10 or so days of sharing round-the-clock hospital & home presence and care of my beautiful mother with her other loved ones. While my little part was so imperfect, nevertheless I was able - through this vision of love - to put aside the weights of that which was unresolved and to be at peace with this amazing mother, so gifted while so unlike me in many ways. I was also able to make a final peace with her and her with me. I was given new lens by which to see more clearly the expansive good she had imparted in her son, my beloved husband, our children and others. (The degree of which I had earlier missed.)
Yet, there are others in our lives much harder to love. Some of us are victims' family members. Others may be released at last from prison with final proof of innocence. All of this is so hard to forgive.
There are so many who have reason to rage personally as well as as citizens and those from other countries and cultures at those who have terribly infected humanity -- those like our recent past - and some current - leaders in church and government today.
Where might we personally and corporately be able to apply this universal creed for loving and forgiveness?
So, here is my response to Frances...This is edited from the first version which I spontaneously posted a few moments ago on Andy's site...
So well put, Frances -- & you express such a wide & passionate heart...keep us informed about your progress to give of yourself for the tortured ones & what you learn along the way about loving them.
1 Corinthians 13 in the so-called New Testament of the Christian Bible is sheer poetry, clarity and guidance from the few who live out this timeless principle. This Bible with which I have grown up is to my limited understanding - a scripture written through the sometimes egoistic view of many different folk throughout the years who really cared to understand life, ethics, God, the enemy and the Beloved Community. So therefore, I would say that it is a scripture written largely according to people & perhaps at times with the mark of the Holy Spirit as well-- from the unfathomable ink well of the deepest, most truthful and loving Spirit of us all - Who is within us & beyond us at the same time. This Spirit - which I still fully embrace - is how I discern, how I recognize authentic peacemakers, healers and the like, from whatever perspective...
Although I'm a long, long way from my some of biblical upbringing in interpretation and focus of interests - I still find a universal quality to this portion of scripture - the Love chapter -which our US citizenry and leaders and we ourselves as well - would do well to heed (I who am very willful, often non-loving, unforgiving - and way too often merely spouting polemics and political rights "dogma" second-hand -- I need to heed this chapter on unconditional love at least as much as most folk!).
"...although I do good works & have not love, I am a sounding brass and a tinkling symbol..."
So whenever I want to give up myself - my psyche & my body even up - for someone personally or someone I've merely read about or even for an archetype - whenever I seek through sacrifice to somehow benefit one of the most powerless & the most voiceless among us -- (and I have tried to do this from time to time) - I try to remember this poetry from scripture and ask myself: how can I do so & still love...not only the victim yet also the victimizer...a feat which only a few manage to accomplish in one lifetime...
Perhaps this understanding of what's required for healing, human rights and peace on earth is universal enough to connect with readers here of all persuasions, even the pantheists, the atheists, the agnostics, those of any of the major or minor faiths and those of a variety of cultures and countries apparently so different from our own?
How - or in which way - do any here personally find resonance with this theme?