Sunday, January 13, 2013

Have We Become Numb?

I am a simple woman.  With a good heart.  I am much like a Hobbit, with smaller feet.  Peaceful with a ready smile and a good word.  Stronger than you know, stronger than I know too. 

I love a good story, full of mystery, puzzles, vivid images.  Stories that roll around getting my heart racing and have me leaning forward hanging on every word.  

I read the Hobbit when I was in high school.  I skipped through the violent parts because I could.  I read the Lord of the Rings trilogy at seventeen.  I didn’t skip the violence, because I had come to believe that if I picked up a book it was my duty… to… read… every… word…

And I fell from innocence.  I dated guys who thought that Taxi Driver with its blood and gore was a good movie to take a girl out to.  We didn’t go out again.  But with each movie I fell a little further.  Losing more of my softness, my humanity.

We (human beings) killed each other in one war ( … excuse me) “Police Action” after another.  Emotionally damaging handsome young men, raping soft young women, maiming the elderly, and teaching innocent children that this was the way of life.  Lest you think I only point fingers at my own country… think again.  We are all to blame. 

Today I went to a movie that I have been waiting ten months to see.  I remembered The Hobbit with such fondness.  And the viral Youtube hit  'Unexpected Briefing' for Air New Zealand helped me remember the delightful fantasy of Tolkien's book. 

Yes, I remembered that there were icky parts in the book, but in my mind they were minimized by the strenuousness of the journey, and the rich vivid language of Middle Earth.  

I think I am going to stop going to the movies.  

Hollywood has outdone itself.  One trailer after another showed apocalypse.  EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM.  Even the ‘children’s movie.’  I need a dose of Sesame Street to wash the stench of what the big studios think will make them rich without caring what it does to our souls to watch that crap.

What followed was a visually beautiful movie.  In case you hadn't guessed - The Hobbit.  There was so much wisdom contained within the dialogue.  Words that I did not remember from my youth, but that touched the wise woman in me today.  The actors were superb, the score struck chord after chord in my soul.   I am a different woman than the one who watched Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy - released in 2001-2003.  But today the brutality is horrific.   

Is this what we are destined to become as we fall into a downward spiral of violence?  Will some of us become the goblins and orcs of Tolkien’s nightmares?  Because we have come to believe it is the way of the world?  Do we have much further to fall?  Are we truly different than orcs as we leave behind bodies rotting in the fires of Auschwitz, the Twin Towers, alleys of America, villages in Africa, the jungles of wherever else the violence is erupting this week?  Truly?  Are those of us who perpetuate this that different than orcs?

There is magic in the world, though perhaps it doesn’t come out of a wand. But we will not find it if we continue to be lost in the stories of brutality, rape, pillage and destruction.  The sacredness of life is lost as we become numb to it all by what we are exposed to, whether we use electronic devices, a two-handed broad sword, or an AK-47.

We must stop accepting that this is the way of the world.  One person at a time we must begin looking for beauty.  Kindness.  Truth.  Faith.  

We must look for and find the magic in the world around us.  We must let go of our very basic tendency to react out of fear, controlling it through courage, and find the sacred magic within our own hearts. 

Magic Dust
It comes from the beauty of a butterfly and from the laughter of children.  There is magic in the first cry of a baby or her first coo.  There is power in the strength of a smile and a kind word.  Wild magic is loosed upon the land when true loves come together.  But the best comes when we come together to build something for all of us.

I pray that someday we will look at these old stories of violence and brutality and be baffled:  how could anyone ever do that to another being?

And that my dear friends is magic of the highest order.

Gayle McCain, Author

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