Through a Glass, Darkly
For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. I Corinthians 13.12
There are so many things I don't understand. I don't understand how people can mistreat animals in ways I won't describe. I don't understand how a man can stab his eight year old daughter to death. I don't understand how six million individuals can be methodically exterminated.
I don't understand how we can live under the Damocles sword of nuclear holocaust and go through our daily lives as if it can never happen.
We watch television and are mildly concerned about the carnage in Iraq -- more than mildly concerned if we have loved ones in the middle of it. In my home, we roll our eyes at the daily obfuscation of what we're really doing over there and why. We're vaguely aware of how much of a powderkeg Iraq remains.
And we hear that Iran may be preparing a nuclear test. And that the erratic dictator in North Korea actually has long range missiles to go with what is probable nuclear warhead capability.
And then we change the channel.
Years ago I had a dream that remains vivid in memory. I am in a hotel ballroom -- apparently at a conference, a meeting with many attendees.
It seems like Hawaii, but it could be at any coastal location, I suppose. The wall of windows in the ballroom faces an open expanse of beach and ocean. Looking out, you can see to the horizon, perfect emptiness of beach and water.
People mill about -- it seems like a cocktail reception, there is a dull murmur of discussion and glasses clinking. There is a businesslike quality to the gathering, not festive; people are lowkey, it's pleasant.
A blinding flash illuminates the room and all heads pivot, all eyes turn to the glass wall.
At the far, far edge of the sea, a column of cloud rises to the heavens and slowly expands horizontally to fill the expanse of sky.
In my dream, oddly, the room remains silent. There is no screaming, no panic -- rather a deathly quiet. It is as if we had been expecting this all along.
All I remember of the dream's end is a terrible sadness as I realized everything was over. It was all over.
The rabbi who conducted my conversion classes was adamantly anti-nuclear. He pointed out how much would be lost with the death of human civilization: the books, the history, the art, the science, the potential for more human development.
To him, this was the biggest sin that could be committed against God, this willful destruction of all that had been provided to us.
If you believe in Intelligent Design, this destruction would be the most egregious sin possible against the Designer. If you don't, you must at least acknowledge the tremendous loss of all that humans have endeavored to create in their brief span on earth.
I don't have a clever, witty or inspirational ending to this post. I don't know if it has a purpose, other than catharsis for me as I shake off that dream again.
But maybe it could remind us that our choices, particularly political choices, contribute to the direction we're going in. Or the direction they can keep us from going in.