To the editor:
Can you think of a story in which the hero does not undergo a significant change? Consider Saul’s conversion to Paul, (Acts 1:1-19). What changed Saul from a killer to a teacher was not God’s anger but His love. Jesus said, “You are forgiven. Now go and sin no more.” (John 8:11).
And remember Ebenezer Scrooge, the hero of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol.” Confronted by the ghost of his former partner, a terrified Scrooge tried to flatter Marley by complimenting him on his business acumen. “Business!” thundered the ghost, shaking his finger at Scrooge. “Mankind was my business!” Again, fear shocked Scrooge out of his bad habits, but love transformed him, and, like Paul, he made the best possible use of the rest of his life. We cannot regain the innocence we had when we entered this world, but we can experience something even better: transformation. The opportunity to know pure joy this side of the grave is extended to all of us, but it involves confronting the darkness we all carry within our selves.
Remorse is the first step. Acknowledging our mistakes and selfishness is hard to do, but because we are loved, we can humbly confess our fears and stubbornness. Leonard Cohen wrote: Ring all the bells that still can ring, forget your perfect offering. There is a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in.”
The arguments we are having with each other would be better fought within ourselves. My father kept these words of T.S. Eliot on his desk: “They constantly try to escape from the darkness outside and within by dreaming of systems so perfect that no one will need to be good.”
And what does it mean to be good? These are the things we learned as children – to share, to be kind, to be thankful for blessings, and to apologize when we have caused harm. We are not as different from each other as some would have us think, and we could all use some “divine intervention” to give us the courage to change, to be changed by love.