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Sunday in the Park

"In the Shambhala warrior tradition, we say you should only have to kill an enemy once every thousand years." Chogyam Trungpa. (From the blog of Susan Piver, http://www.susanpiver.com, "Osama bin Laden is dead. One Buddhist’s response.")

Last week, after the killing of Osama bin Laden, there was, in some corners, great celebrating. Which proved unsettling to many people, who were conflicted because they were relieved an evil-doer was eliminated but felt being joyous at a death didn’t elevate us as a people. An old friend, who moved 20 years ago from Park City to the Deep South, started this conversation on facebook. It has been edited for length.

Teri,

While I still take bugs outside (for the most part) and try not to kill, I am relieved that his direct ability to spread hate and violence are over. I don’t share in the celebrations, but I’m not unhappy he’s gone. I consider it a just end to a life of hate. I also can’t comment to the feelings of families that lost someone directly. For me to tell them that what they feel is "wrong" judges them from my viewpoint. I haven’t walked in their shoes, so, in their grief, I just choose to let it be.

Lovingly, John

John,

I have become nearly Quaker-like in my beliefs that all wars are bad. Bin Laden was an evil man, as was Hitler. But my great sadness comes from the hundreds and thousands of people they convinced to carry out their evil deeds. The idea of passion without compassion draws me in. As does a strange fascination with technology (stay with me here). After centuries of solving disputes, ultimately, by killing each other, I don’t understand why we can’t simply turn someone into a frog or a star or a rock. If all energy can neither be created nor destroyed, why aren’t we more creative about changing shapes or minds? I wish human relations and resolutions could move at the speed technology has … and I would never try to judge another’s grief. If someone tried to harm one of my children or grandchildren, I know my lizard brain would react in a primal fashion. I just WANT to be more evolved.

With love right back at you, Teri

Ha, ha,

I’m not sure I’m ready for the lizard, Teri. But you do get points for trying to keep the "primal us" in the closet. As to war, I share your beliefs, and also look to it as evil, but unfortunately, necessary in certain instance. Look at Hitler … We try peace, to appeal to a fellow human being, and we can’t reach them. Sometimes, violence is what stops violence (I think that was Gandhi). I don’t celebrate OBL’s death, but it’s more like, "Well, it’s the consequence of his actions."

As to passion without compassion, I don’t want to bum you out, but there’s this "news" channel called FOX … I don’t recommend it. Try to stay away from those that watch it too. They have no gifts for you. Hate is soooo "in" this year. (Next year is oversized plaid purses, so we have that to look forward to.)

I liked what the president had to say on the event. I hope there is some way to transcend all the conflict. I have decided to do my part by caring for those I love, and calling out those who preach hate. And if you ever turn into a star, I want to be in your constellation. Not too up on the whole "frog" idea. This sure sounds like a topic for over a bottle of wine it’ll be my hope.

Yours, Juan

And yes, I know Gandhi didn’t say, "Well, let’s kick some ass."

John,

Ah, wine. It can help lubricate a conversation. Let me know when you are back in the ‘hood.

I thought President Obama was appropriate in his delivery. To have been cheering could have sent a message used to refuel fires. The situation itself can still do that.

I think it is the prayer of St. Francis (I still haven’t been a regular churchgoer, anywhere, since Mark H. left) that says, "Let there be peace, and let it begin with me." We can write letters and march and speak our truth to power and it is hollow without actions. Simple actions, really, which are the most difficult. Every day. Being accountable and asking others to do the same.

The oversize plaid purse would surely match my eyes. I hope they do become "in."

I’d sign off Teresa, but as you know, that was never my name.

Just plain T

Last weekend was not just another Sunday in the Park …

Teri Orr is a former editor of The Park Record. She is the director of the foundation that provides programming for the George S. and Dolores Doré Eccles Center for the Performing Arts.


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