Maybe I feel things too deeply. Maybe things cut into my heart in a way that they don’t for others. Maybe I need medication to dull the piercing pain I am experiencing these days.
Tonight I went to a wonderful, peaceful, healing Havdalah service at my synagogue, followed by a potluck dinner filled with good food and great conversation. I felt energized and hopeful. Afterwards, I went to the movies, and saw Selma. It was beautifully done, well acted, viscerally painful and also filled with hope. Filled with all that Martin Luther King, Jr. and the civil rights movement of the 1960s accomplished. Filled with the tension between activism – and its demands for immediate change – and politics – and its incremental and sometimes unacceptably plodding path.
I came home and saw another horrific report in The New York Times of Boko Haram and its moral bankruptcy. Tonight’s report was of a young girl – “perhaps no more than 10 years old” – used as a suicide bomber. Don’t read the next quote if you are squeamish:
Several witnesses said it appeared that the girl might not have been aware of her deadly burden. Bakura Bashir, a shopper who witnessed the explosion, said: “This girl may not necessarily know she was conveying a timed bomb. The girl was torn into two halves, and half of her body was thrown across buildings by the devastating blast.”
In the name of what God is this group fighting? What religion? Surely it cannot be Islam. Not any version of Islam that I can fathom. It’s estimated that there are 1.6 billion Muslims in the world. I have to believe that the vast majority of these people are sickened by the false idol used by Boko Haram in its quest for power and control. Surely there is strength in numbers. Where is the backlash? Where is the outrage?
This poor child. This poor young girl. She had no say in this. She could not have made this choice. This is sickness. It is an unspeakable violation. A pillaging. A rape. The worst, most horrific sort of exploitation.
Again, I ask: Where is God?
I am left praying for God to smite Boko Haram’s members. I don’t want to have this prayer. I need guidance from my Rabbi. My Cantor – my spiritual guide. From an Imam. From a Priest or Minister. From the Dalai Lama. I try to pray for love and healing. This girl cannot be healed. Her innocent body was blown in half. What is the appropriate prayer?
Help me, God, to find my way back to a place of love. Please give me guidance as I try to steer myself away from a place of violence, as understandable as it feels. Please watch over the innocents as they struggle to live their lives in the midst of insanity. And please guide our leaders to help them as well.
It’s not enough for me right now.
Please God. Help.