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Year Three, Day 16: I Do Not Hate Green Eggs and Ham...

...I try to resist hatred of any kind.

"Hatred or hate is a deep and extreme emotional dislike. It can be directed against individuals, groups, entities, objects, behaviors, or ideas. Hatred is often associated with feelings of anger, disgust and a disposition towards hostility." (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hatred)

I grew up with Dr. Seuss. I still love Dr. Seuss. I can recite Green Eggs and Ham by heart.

But what a profound difference the words of that book would have made if the words "do not like" were replaced with the word "hate".

Hate is such a strong word.  "Do not like" feels softer.  The opposite of "like". Hate on the other hand feels toxic, almost tangible. When I hate, I can feel it eating away at my internal organs.  Like poison.

I've been thinking about the word hate since the horrendous murders on the Max on Friday.  No, that is a lie. I have been thinking about the word hate for much longer.  I notice it coming from so many directions, especially on social media.

I am finding the need to seek a lot of time alone to process it all. Alone in nature. Alone with God. Alone with good, deep reading material.  Like the Bible. Or anything by Thomas Merton.

I just put a hold on his book Passion for Peace at the library.

I have read several books by Merton. When I began my obsession with monks years ago, I holed myself away in a my little room at the "Shalom Prayer Center" in Mt. Angel. With a pile of books. Several by Merton.

I found this quote by him this morning, when I was researching the word "hate".

"Merely to resist evil with evil by hating those who hate us and seeking to destroy them, is actually no resistance at all. It is active and purposeful collaboration in evil that brings the Christian into direct and intimate contact with the same source of evil and hatred which inspires the acts of his enemy. It leads in practice to a denial of Christ and to the service of hatred rather than love."
Thomas Merton, Passion for Peace; Reflections on War and Nonviolence

Yesterday's vigil was a step in the right direction. People came together to offer support and condolences for the men who gave their lives to protect two young Muslim women from a violent verbal assault. Not everyone had pure motives. I heard on Facebook that there were some with a different agenda. But overall, a message of peace.

Personally, I fight a war within myself continually to harbor peaceful thoughts about myself and others. How easily I am swayed to negative thinking when I am feeling defensive, picked on and misunderstood. Even if this is my own perspective!
 
So rather than judge others, I am continuing to work on myself.  "Peace is every step" as the beloved Vietnamese Buddhist monk, Thich Nhat Hanh says.

I am still feeling deep soulful pain from this attack.  But trying to balance it with inner peace and kindness.  

Yesterday, after the vigil, I rode the Max to Clackamas Town Center. My cell phone was nearly dead and I was worried about walking home in the dark without my phone. So I walked around the mall, people watching, seeking an outlet for my charger.

I found it by the "massage chairs".  There was actually a sign that said "Recharge and Unwind".  You could put a $5 in the slot, get a 15 minute massage and charge your cell phone on the charging dock at the same time!  That was the ticket!

I sat and people watched.  And began to relax.

Then I set out for the bus home. I waited just a few minutes before my bus pulled up. The doors open and I was greeted by the smiling face of my old friend, "HFKAR"!  I almost turned around and looked for another bus.

But I remembered my commitment to peace and kindness. 

"Z!", he said!

I greeted him with a smile and squeeze his shoulder. It was a short bus ride. But we exchanged pleasantries.  Healing comes in these small bits and pieces in my life. I waved a friendly good-bye as I deboarded. And I exhaled a bit of relief. One less person to feel animosity towards!

I had one more bus to catch before my 3/4 mile walk home. I boarded with a man about my age. He was friendly. He told me he was here from Southern California and loved all the hiking paths in Portland. We chatted a bit. My stop came up and it turned out he was getting off too. We walked down the hill chatting comfortably. I told him I had just come from the vigil. He had not heard about the murders. We talked some more.  We talked about all of the hate speech. About blame.  

He is African-American. I was relieved to hear him talk pleasantly about love and acceptance. He did not vote for Trump (like me), but also did not hate him (like me).   But he was concerned (like me!)

We parted at the bottom of the hill. He turned and shook my hand. His name is "V".  It was a peaceful, kind exchange. A nice way to end a rather emotional day.

I was blessed this morning by a visit from wildlife on my morning walk.  I was walking briskly to catch the bus to church, when out of the corner of my eye, I noticed movement. I turned and saw two young deer running down the middle of the street. In Milwaukie! They were running towards a very busy intersection. I hastened to catch up. I was worried that they would be hit by a car. Amazingly, they crossed at the crosswalk and stood, looking perplexed by the gas station. I crossed the street and called to them gently, making clicking noises. I have no idea if that is the proper way to call baby deer. 

But it worked! They turned and trotted my way. They came quite close to me. And posed for several pictures! I feel like I was touched by angels. They were so beautiful. And so out of place in the middle of the city. After a few minutes they ran off into the trees.  I am so happy that I captured the moment on my phone.

It is an image that I will also keep forever in my mind. Their big, trusting eyes looking right at me. Their little noises twitching.  I wondered where the mother was?








I have no hate in my life.  I might even like green eggs in ham. Who knows? I have never even TRIED green eggs and ham!

Happy Sunday to you my friends.

God bless you and your loved ones.

Talk to you tomorrow.

Love,




Zita

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