Monday, May 6, 2013

Who We Are

Ann Maria Reeves Jarvis and daughter Anna

No cemetery is willing to take the body of Tamerlan Tsarnaev. Not just Boston.  Anywhere in the US.  "Send him back to Russia!" is the rallying cry.  

I was not one rallying to insist everybody sing Kumbya and forgive Tsarnaev.  But this is a really disturbing trend.  The man is dead.  His final resting place can only cause more pain if people choose to make it so.  And people are choosing to do so.  This is why forgiveness is so important.  Not because of any love or sympathy or understanding of the one who hurt us.  But because if we do not forgive and let go of our anger and grievances, they continues to hurt us.  Tsarnaev is dead.  We do not hurt him by refusing his body a place to rest.  We hurt his family.  But most of all we hurt ourselves.  Because of this story, he is still in the news, still taking up our attention, our thoughts, our energy.  We are the ones who choose to make this an issue.  

And it hurts us because we become less than who we are.  Civilized people do not desecrate the dead of our enemies.  Desecrating bodies, refusing burial rites, condemning the dead to some sort of hellish after life by what we do, all these practices are from another time, an ignorant and brutal time.  Do we want to be *that* people?

Mother's Day is coming up.  Few people remember the origins of that day.  Anna Jarvis campaigned for this day in honor of her mother who worked to bring mothers of soldiers on both sides of the civil war.  One of the things those mothers did was care for the graves of soldiers of the other side.  These mothers of slain boys did not grieve their losses any less than the people of Boston.  They did not view the soldiers who killed their sons any less "traitors" than we view Tamerlan Tsarnaev.  And yet they brought themselves to take care of their graves. This is our history.  This is who we are.

I don't even believe this is a Christian issue.  This is about who we are as Americans.  If it is no longer who we are, then the terrorists have won.

1 comment:

  1. Important post, Joelle. And I just noticed the RIP for Tommy and so so sorry for your loss of a fur angel.