Tuesday, 1 October 2013

In Peace And Intolerance

This letter makes me sad. It makes me sad because a mother has chosen to disown her son. It makes me sad because her father has followed her example and chosen to disown her. The hurt and anger contained in this letter makes me sad.
However, as part of the human existence we will be hurt. Things will happen to us that we find painful to endure. I don't believe that will ever change.
Some of those things will leave us powerless. We will not be able to change them no matter how much we try.
My husband's death is one of those things. I can not bring him alive no matter how I try. So what is the point of me being angry at his death? What does my anger achieve?
Well, the fact is, not everything in life has a point to it. Some things are downright senseless! But just because they are senseless does not mean that they do not exist.
My anger exists and I can either contain it or release it. As I would rather not hold onto my anger, I allow myself to release it. 
However, my way of releasing my anger in the wake of my husband's death hurt my friends which in turn hurt me. I am fortunate that my friends are forgiving and that I also discovered a more positive way of releasing my anger through art journaling.
Through my art journaling I am able to release my emotions without harming anyone else.
Through my art journaling I am able to use my emotions to create "pretty pictures" which people can admire for their aesthetics and perhaps, also, for the message they contain.
Through my art journaling I am able to be "peacefully intolerant"; I am able to refute what I know to be bad without resorting to anger or violence.
"Peaceful intolerance" is not a new concept. Mahatma Gandhi and Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr were fine exemplars of it. But we need not be human rights campaigners; there are many ways for us to be "peacefully intolerant".
We can choose who we socialise with, which political causes we support, which activities we partake in. The options are infinite.
For example, if we wished to protest at Guido Barilla's homophobia, instead of, as has been encouraged, spending our money with one of Barilla's competitors, we could perhaps learn to make our own pasta and increase our self-sufficiency.
Or, returning to the letter above, why has it's author not opted to enact a course of action other to one he states he does not approve of?
There are always choices to how we deal with life's events no matter how challenging they are and it is thus important that we choose the right one.
We do not create peace by creating war and we do not create love by creating hate. So we need to be mindful what kind of intolerance we wish to impose.
I would prefer an intolerance of war and hate but I can not sway the whole of humanity by myself.