By Jurell Sison
Like most people there's been a lot on my mind lately so I'm grateful for this platform to express some of the random thoughts going through my head. As always this isn't the last word... there is always more to be said... no one blog (or one person) gets to summarize the complexity of the realities we live in today. Proceed into my head and heart at your own risk and please read and respond with love.
I always teach my students that evil is the absence or lack of the good. This theology is usually attributed to St. Augustine.
I get so frustrated when people say “what has this world come to?” Probably because it’s easy. It’s easy for people to look out, point the finger and say “How could you??” But the much more difficult thing would be for me to ask myself, “How could I? …How could I have been so selfish? How could I have been so greedy and materialistic? How could I have been so superficial? How could I have mistreated someone so badly?”
As much as I like to think that I am innocent, I am an active contributor to both the goodness and evil in this world… in this city… and in my home. It might sound stupid but I think about this all the time. On one hand, who am I to think that my actions affect the globe but on the other hand, do I really think that my selfishness doesn’t contribute to the hate that we experience?
We always talk about the evil that’s “out there” …somewhere over yonder with the gangs and terrorists but I’m writing this post to express one of my core beliefs: evil also lives in the suburbs. Not only in the suburbs, but like Matthew Kelly always said, “The line between good and evil is cast down the center of our own human heart.” More often than not, I am the racist. Just because I don’t say racist things doesn’t mean it’s not in my heart. And if I know it’s in my heart, who is to blame if I don’t do anything to actively get rid of it? So yes, my friends, racism exists in America … in 2016 …it lives inside me.
God help us. God help me. God save me my own darkness.
If evil is the absence or lack of the good–that implies that it needs to be brought. AKA someone has to bring it. Not only that (because that seems to over simplify it) but kindness needs to be brought when no one else is strong enough to do it. Thank God for the people, the ordinary-everyday saints, that (1) give me hope to keep doing the right thing, and (2) inspire me to keep believing in the world’s God-given goodness.
Every day in my classroom I end prayer with the same intention, “so that we might be the reason someone’s day is made and not the reason someone’s day is ruined.”
We have a long way to go and we need more people to fight the good fight–not “out there”--but the more urgent one that lies within.
This deserves it’s own blog but it's been on my mind:
Hate begets hate; violence begets violence; toughness begets a greater toughness. We must meet the forces of hate with the power of love… our aim must never be to defeat or humiliate ...but to win his friendship and understanding.
Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” - Martin Luther King, Jr.
ALL THAT JUST TO SAY...
In a world full of darkness, I promise to try my best to be a light.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jurell is a teacher, writer, and filmmaker living in Cleveland, Ohio. Along with some other great friends, he is one of the co-founders of The Living Person. Follow him at jurellsison.com or @jurellsison on IG/twitter.