Monday, November 29, 2010

god help me...please

Be not angry that you cannot make others as you wish them to be, since you cannot make yourself as you wish to be.

Thomas à Kempis

Imitation of Christ

I watched a movie tonight called Rosenstrasse. During WWII in Germany, the Jewish husbands of Aryan women were protected--for a while. Then these men, too, were rounded up and held. Their wives held vigil outside the building where the husbands were being held and demanded their release. According to the movie, the men and women being held at Rosenstrasse returned to their families.

At one point in the movie, Lena (the protagonist Aryan wife) approached her father (a German man of some prestige and power who was an anti-Semite) and begged him for help. He refused. Not only did he turn his back on her literally, but he also denied the stories of camps and disowned his own daughter for having married a Jew.

In that moment watching the film, I felt such powerlessness and incomprehension for his reaction. I am not proud of my response. All I could feel was hatred. No compassion. No understanding of his fear or worries. None. I couldn't get there. And the hatred I felt was not just directed at his behavior, but at him.

Yes, I know it was a movie and this was not a real person. However, there were many real people who did the very things that this role portrayed. God help me. I am not as full of lovingkindness as the Dalai Lama who prays for the Chinese--the very people who ripped him from his homeland.

So I must turn toward my own shortcomings with lovingkindness. May I find peace. May I find compassion for the woundedness of others. May I find enough that it spills over to those around me.

May it be so.


Anonymous said...


I am playing catch up today. Have missed my visits here.

Kathryn Grace said...

I too have difficulty feeling love and compassion for those who harm others. It is a constant struggle, as I know of so much violence and suffering. Have you read China Galland's The Bond Between Women: A Journey to Fierce Compassion? She addresses this issue as well, and it is from her story that I first began to understand the possibility of compassion towards those who commit vile acts.

Unfortunately, I have yet to feel that compassion. Truth is, I don't want to. My prayer each time I'm confronted with yet another act of violence, however perpetrated, is that I not respond with evil, and that my heart be softened with love. That's the best I can do, so far.

Another reason, I suppose, the Grandmothers gave me the dream in The Red Cave.

Mary'sCorner said...

I hear ya, B. I think extending compassion toward others who harm is one of the most difficult challenges of our lives. I can sometimes "think" compassion, but "feeling" compassionate is harder, especially in the face of evil. I pray your prayer too, Wanda, for you AND for me. And thank you, Kathryn, for the book recommendation.

Carrie Link said...

May it be so, indeed.

Deb Shucka said...

It always begins with compassion for ourselves. You're well on the path with this awareness and prayer, which I join you in.

Kathryn Grace said...

Mary, you're welcome. Let me know, when you've read it, what you think. It's one of those books I return to again and again in my struggle to become a more forgiving, loving person.