I ended yesterday’s post with a promise to comment further on Samson. (The reason I stopped where I did is that Bernie was calling me to come eat so we could get on with the tasks of our day.)
Often when I am doing my morning readings, there is a sort of synchronicity that occurs. That happened to me yesterday when I read, and reacted to, the story of Samson in the Bible. Later, I read a passage from the little Mother Teresa reflection I mentioned in earlier that helped me deal with the disgust I felt after reading Samson’s saga. This is what she wrote:
“I feel we too often focus on the negative aspects of life, on what is bad. If we were more willing to see the good and the beautiful things that surround us, we would be able to transform our families. From there, we would change our next-door neighbors and then others who live in our neighborhood or city. We would be able to bring peace and love to the world, which hungers so much for these things.”
(from Mother Teresa, Her Essential Wisdom)
Given the life Mother Teresa chose working among the poor of Calcutta, I am sure that violence was not foreign to her. In fact, I suspect she saw the worst of the worst. But I think that she understood that those who have suffered because of violence hunger for goodness. I could not imagine reading to a child living in the terror of a war zone or dire poverty the story of Samson.
I am not knocking scriptures. Those who saved those stories did us a service. They are useful to supplement our knowledge of history and some of it inspires. But much of what I read in the bible wears on my sensibilities. I hear enough about violence and sexual abuse all the time. I am aware of the violence in the world. I even appreciate a book or movie that accurately depicts the suffering that violence has caused real people in real time. Sometimes looking evil in the face is required for someone to stop doing what they are doing, or start doing what they should.
Having had my fill of violence and hopelessness, I love stories of kindness toward others, stories of people turning their lives around for the better, of people standing up for justice, or of people working to make the world a safer place. These stories give me hope. They help me to find beauty in the world and in the people around me. They inspire me to love with more courage.