Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Osama Bin Laden Had a Mother

Much has been written this week about the death of Osama Bin Laden. It saddened me, of course, to see people celebrating his death. Blood vengeance is not becoming to our better angels. Jessica Dovey, a grad student living in Japan said it best, encapsulating some words from MLK: I will mourn the loss of thousands of precious lives, but I will not rejoice in the death of one, not even an enemy. "Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, 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." MLK Jr.

(The first sentence is Ms. Dovey's own, followed by a quotation from King's 1963 book, "Strength to Love.")

Osama Bin Laden had a mother. We don’t know what she dreamed he would become but we can be fairly certain it was not to cause the death of thousands of innocent lives at his command and in retaliation for his actions, be the cause of many thousand more deaths by our own forces. We don’t know how hard she tried, but we can be fairly certain that she did all she could to raise him to be a righteous and noble man. I want to believe that if Osama Bin Laden had written a letter to his mother he would have asked for forgiveness. Perhaps. But at the end of the day, our mothers, our fathers, our friends, don’t determine our lives. We do. Heredity is not destiny. Mothers can only try to set us on the course. For better or worse, they have done what they could. The rest is up to us. May the peace this day truly proclaims remind us to hold love in our hearts, because of our mothers, indeed for all living beings.

With Grace and Grit,  John