Halloween is a few weeks, and the conversation can often turn to monsters, and yes, some of them, I suppose, are scary. But the scariest monster of all is the human being. Yet, I also wish to have compassion on them. I am constantly in a conflict with myself, I want to meet people, where they are at, and accept them, and then I come against the darkest of humanity, what am I to make of that?
Take for example the reality of human trafficking. Those who are trafficked, these are my brothers, these are my sisters. These people are precious, and precious to me. I want to believe that humanity is beautiful, but what do I make of the traffickers? In light of that, is it wrong for me to seek to see the best in people? What do I make of the monsters? I think humanity as monsters scares me much more than things traditionally considered scary, for example, ghost, and so forth. With humanity, I want to see them as beautiful, so the horror is so much more pronounced for it. I feel conflicted, perhaps because of conflicting ideas. My love for humanity coming up against the horror of the human monster.
Another example is those who would bully those around them, for example, I recently saw an example of a person who obviously had a dislike for a certain form of music, calling someone ‘trash’ because they said something relating to that particular form of music. Seriously? Over a difference of taste in music?
Why are people cruel? Why does evil prosper and why do the good suffer? Don’t tell me their are no good people. I’ve had that thrown at me more times than I can count. “Why do bad things happen to good people?” is responded with “There are no good people.” Do not say that. What, are we all monsters? Is there truly no such thing as goodness, as beauty, as truth? What is the point of life if there are no good people? There is none, not that I can see. But if people are capable of even a glimmer of goodness, than life is not only worth living, it’s worth living in a land of shadows, and horror, and death, and pain. To say that there are not good people is a terrible thing to say, and if gives no meaning to this life. There is no reason to be good if goodness is not possible. If there are no good people, than all people are monsters, and life is but a vain joke, a deception, a trick, a lie, and the vain hope of trying to be human, a vain, and empty hope, with no purpose, and no future. If there are no good people, than there is more hope to be found in hell itself. Do not tell me there are not good people.
The existence of good people is why we have the monsters, but at the same time, it is why even the monsters have hope. We’re not all monsters, and even more importantly, we are not doomed to be monsters forever.
I cannot forget that I too, in the past, would have argued beyond reason or feeling, about frivolous, ridiculous, things, like musical taste, valuing my opinions above that of the heart of a human being. I too have been the monster. I really don’t know why my mind has changed, and I am not such a firebrand as I once was. It is not like I can point to a single event, or thing, or person, and say this is what happened. It’s not like that. I do not know what it is about, only that it is. Perhaps part of it was the Lord of the Rings, and another part was Harry Potter, perhaps I learned how to think while trying to understand Severus Snape. I won’t deny, trying to understand what happened atop the Astronomy Tower, it has been a huge boost to my skills upon how to think through something, to see if what is seen could be different than what truly is. You might say that Severus Snape taught me how to think.
It’s also true, however, that when you see people as beautiful, suddenly, they become beautiful. You do find that you are quite fond of them. They become inexplicably precious, wonderful, brilliant, beautiful, people. It’s really a great way to see the world. Suddenly you find that all these people are precious to you. A view of others that encompasses this mindset is almost an enchantment. The enchantment, is it possible that I had cast it upon myself? But, now, what a thought, consider the artist who passively sets the captives free just through their artwork alone.
Sometimes, the artist is a most fragile creature. Sometimes, in some of their work I perceive slight insecurities in them about themselves. They don’t know how special they are. I wonder how many people believe they are nothing, not realizing how beautiful they really are. As such, I am really beginning to hate condemnation and what it does to my sisters and brothers. Take a former student of mine for example, past all the hurt there is a beautiful creature. She, however, believes the lies that say she deserves hell. Truth is, I myself thought this way, and still do at times, much more than I desire to actually. Lies do hurt people, I know, I’ve lived through them.
Condemnation tortures the human soul into believing that they are without worth, beauty, or anything good. It holds captive people in a sort of self-sustaining slavery. It, more than anything else hurts people. Even abuse victims, a lot of times, regardless of truth, will suffer from condemnation, and thus believe that they are somehow deserving of the abuse, it can even become desired. It’s still slavery, and not their fault.
This is what Raven does, it is like facing internally the horrors of Máiréad’s Labyrinth, or the prisons of the Dark Prince. It is a prison that is so much a part of you that you forget you’re a prisoner. Raven is the perfect tormentor, he knows the best possible way to break the humanity of every person. Condemnation is one of his chief weapons in that. This is the state of humanity, they dwell in a prison and are tormented at the hands of the perfect tormentor. The kind that is believed. The people believe Raven’s lies. They believe his words and blame themselves for his tormenting of their souls. I hurt in my heart to feel this, to see this in my brothers and sisters. These precious ones. They deserve our compassion, not our condemnation.
It is amazing though what happens when you start viewing those around you as something precious, as something beautiful. And because all humanity is created in the image of God there is something beautiful to be found in all of them, if for no other reason than that they are made in God’s image, that alone makes everyone someone beautiful. It is also beautiful how when you start seeing people as beautiful the world becomes really, really, beautiful for it.
Suddenly all these people are not a nuisance but are precious to you. It makes life beautiful for me, and I hope I can in some way be a blessing to these precious people.
It is also why there is hope, even for the monsters.