Here we are again, the dreaded season of hope, goodwill and glad tidings. I was quite young when I realized how few were the genuine well wishes and how quickly they evaporated. Before you decide I’m jaded and cynical, please understand I’ve never disbelieved in Hope and Goodwill. I’ve built my life around them. Yet the conundrum persists. I want to celebrate the hype of the season, but the realities of our society come crashing in. How can we who hold the sweetness of love and kindness, and still allow the most hideous acts of inhumanity?
As I write I’m reminded that December 14th is the 10th year since the massacre of children at Sandy Hook.
How do we go from the sacred to the profane so rapidly? And more importantly, why?
I’m convinced the answers lie in the inauthentic ways we live.
Prayers are often wish lists to a god we have not taken the time to know. Acts of kindness are accumulated points towards some heavenly reward. And the real tell is that our beliefs are taught to us and seldom do we make them our own. If they belonged to us through effort and acceptance, we wouldn’t need assurances from anyone.
Those who express doubt are hushed. Yet doubts about superficial beliefs may be a most genuine expression of our humanity. The need to know, not simply believe, may be an essential prerequisite.
Perhaps societal ills are a reflection of this silenced need. And while reliance on belief may pacify some, it’s harmful to many. Life calls us to celebrate our uniqueness. But that uniqueness is something we must know. Belief will never cut it.
My wish for all of us: May our doubts become our knowing.