The Powerful Desire for Revenge

grenadeI remember my powerful emotions when, many years ago, during the hazing period at a local university fraternity, the recruits were required to swim across a small lake on the campus. One young man had never learned to swim but he was told, ‘You don’t swim, you don’t join.’ He went into the water, sank to the bottom and drowned. Their defense was that everyone had been drinking.

For years, my chest tightened when I thought about what happened to that young man, but back then I thought, “If he was my son, I would make it my life’s mission to tear this university down.” I wanted revenge and the boy wasn’t my son! I wanted revenge, even though I believe, for the purpose of spiritual advancement, we choose our parents, our lives, and about how long we will live before we are born.

The rage at the seeming senselessness of so many incidents and the powerful desire for revenge is, to a large degree, why our world is not at peace. If you lived in a place where a wall separated you and your enemies, and they shot grenades over the wall at you, and you shot grenades over the wall at them, and members of their families died and members of your family died, could you become a peacemaker? Could you be the first to stop lobbing the grenades? If you stopped, but they did not, would you and your family just stand there and die? If they stopped, would you, also, giving up your war for . . . for what? The land? A principle? A belief that God loves you more than them?

No matter how holy any terrorist (or anyone standing on ‘God’s principle’) tries to make their attacks or justify their motives, war is war. War is death. War is human. War is hell. People standing on God’s foundation, like Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr., make peace, not war. They see the never-ending cycles of revenge. They transcend their outrage. They put the problem into God’s all-healing hands and ask to find solutions in inspiration. They understand, they compromise, they heal, they make peace, but only arm-in-arm with God. Remember, where God is, there is love, forgiveness and compassion. Where God isn’t, there is war, acrimony, and arrogance.

“You shall know them by the fruit they bear.”

Our Short Lives

Our life spans are so short, there’s not much time to end up in a history book. World-conquering dictators and men consumed by evil are remembered. And those who live with great love, healing the darkness, such as Martin Luther King, Jr., Mohandas Gandhi and Mother Teresa, are also written into the official records of humanity’s deeds. Even they, however, will be forgotten as the last grain of sand in the giant hourglass in the sky slips from the top bulb and through the narrow tube, marking the end of one age and the beginning of another.

Have you ever wondered why our life spans are so short? Young people don’t realize how brief life is—they’re just getting started. To them, twenty years at home seems nothing when compared to the probable fifty or sixty years remaining. But go to work, raise children, enjoy grandchildren and the fruits of our labors and—poof!—we find ourselves winding down, and then we find ourselves outside our bodies, between lives.

So, what is the point of these few short years lived on the great wheel of time? Is the free will granted us by our Maker the ultimate gift or a design flaw? Was the correcting mechanism (the experience gained by living many, many lifetimes) built in or added later? According to screenwriters, some angels envy us our free will. Could we blame them if they did? We fashion our own lives!  

We humans struggle a great deal to remember who we are (light) and where we come from (the light). Maybe our short life spans are a blessing. If we get stuck running like a hamster on his wheel and forget we are born to love and to serve Love and one another, and to be caretakers of our planet, we will be reborn, to start again the noble quest of self-realization.