So, for example, take a piece of chocolate cake. I know I should have an apple instead. I can even try to convice my heart that I could grow to love it more than chocolate cake. However, my heart will not be fooled. It knows the joy even a single bite of chocolate cake brings and it knows an apple, even with all its health benefits, can't produce that kind of joy. I follow my heart. I eat the chocolate cake. My heart rules me 99% of the time.
Now that you know this about me, I will move on to something much more serious than chocolate cake. It is something that I feel conflicted about--it's like my heart and head are having a tug-of-war. I'm pretty sure my heart will win, as it always does, but I am having more difficulty than usual wrapping my head around it because it deals with life and death.
Osama Bin Laden is dead. My head says, "Ha, ha! That sorry, evil so-and-so, finally got his!" My head says it's time to feel proud for my country and thumb my nose at the middle east and haughtily say "Winning" in a sort of Charlie Sheen way. And add to that, "Well guess there'll be no more chocolate cake for you, buddy!". But wait. My heart can't be quiet anymore.
I saw an image of our Statue of Liberty holding the head of Bin Laden. Blood is dripping down her arm. It gave me a weird feeling in the pit of my stomach. Last night on the news, I saw American streets in Washington D.C. and New York City where mobs had gathered to celebrate death. Honestly, at first glance, it could have been a scene straight off the streets of the middle east. I remember seeing that kind of celebration when terrorist groups received word that the target had been hit on 9-11. They celebrated death while me mourned it. My head tells me that it all depends on which side of death you're on...the "for it" or the "against it" side. My head tells me I'm on the "for it" side now. My heart isn't letting me believe it. Somehow it feels wrong to harbor that much hatred. But then again, I didn't suffer tangible loss on 9-11.
I mourned with all of our country on 9-11. I remember I had just taken my children to school and had arrived back home. My husband called and said something awful was happening and he said I should turn on the television. So, along with everyone else in our country, I watched utter horror unfold. On my pre-dawn walk with friends the next morning, the sky was eerily quiet. The world was holding its breath.
I cannot for one minute imagine the terror of those whose lives were forever altered on that day. My heart is letting me weep with them for the years they've lost waiting for justice. I weep for those in our military who fought the fight to protect our freedom and lost their lives doing it. Justice has come and it was deserved. It was the necessary consequence for the sin. And my heart feels at peace about it. Still, my heart will not rejoice as one who places no value at all on human life. Deep within me is a sadness that it had to come to this in the first place. A sadness that in this world there lives such hatred that we celebrate death. They celebrate ours and we celebrate theirs.
So I'm sitting here feeling conflicted, wondering why in the world I can't celebrate this death. Then I suddenly know why! At the center of my faith is a loving God who hates any kind of sin at all and allows natural consequences to happen. Paramount to my faith is the belief that God, in the form of the Holy Spirit, lives in me. IN ME. IN MY HEART. That same God created a man named Osama Bin Laden. And though his death had to come and was necessary, God is not celebrating. He is weeping for a lost son. That is why my heart cannot celebrate death.
Make no mistake, I will not miss the terrorist who stole moms and dads from their children and husbands from their wives. I am at peace that in his death justice was served. But there is no celebration for me over death. My heart tells me that's wrong. As usual, I will follow my heart....and pray that God will bless America as I give my greatest effort to love when my head tells me to hate.
"As surely as I live", declares the Sovereign Lord, "I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn from their ways and live". Ezekiel 33:29.
|A simple plea. ( My visit to Ground Zero-nine months after 9-11).|
|Immeasurable sadness. (Wall of Memory-nine months after 9-11).|