In Memoriam…


by Arsenio Rodriguez

These incredible arms that we are endowed with can move at will, to gesture praise or curse, to caress and strangle, to protect and destroy. These thoughts, feelings and speech that I carry, can arrange to communicate humbly and generate laughter, consolation, forgiveness, or in self-aggrandizement and ignorance, stimulate fear, violence, prejudice.

Thoughts and feelings, that in a secret whisper can poison the other through calumny and generalization, and fueled by my darkest fears, can align with the fears of others to give rise to a wave of hatred and animosity, however those same thoughts and feelings, when attuned to that inner voice that once said “let he who has no sins cast the first stone” they can shower instead, compassion, and the gift of forgiveness. This fascinating mind of ours! It has blessed us with technology, to heal and prolong life, to alleviate suffering, to look beyond our senses and magnify our awe, at the cosmic miracle of universe and life. But it also has given us the tools of mass destruction, the capacity to magnify the power of our strangling and sword carrying hands, to shower death in an instant, not just to a fighting face-to-face adversary, but to dozens, hundreds, thousands, millions of our fellow living beings.

From the mass graves of Eastern Europe, the ovens of Germany, the fields of Rwanda, the prairies of western United States, the coliseums of Rome, the squares of Tienanmen, the slave trade of Africa, the religious wars of India, the crusades, the Armenian purge, the conquest of America, the “collateral damages”, the rape of Nanjing, the burnt flesh of Hiroshima, to the dance halls of Orlando, massacres have occurred all the time, as we know from recorded and not recorded history, perpetrated by governments, tribes, religions, ethnic groups, individuals, all who have become possessed by the fear inside, disguised as hatred for the demonized others. We have shed the blood of others so many times.

It is a cycle of fear, manifested in action, inspired by our fearful voices, that contrary to that sweet voice that posed the question of casting the first stone, calls for generalization, condemnation, demonization, fear, revenge, ignorance. Again and again.

They all live within me. These voices, these feelings, some dormant, some active, some in thought form, the voices of hatred and forgiveness, of aggression and embracing, of self aggrandizement and humility, of inspiration and fear mongering. I watch them inside in my thought screens, and outside displayed in history books, on televised news, on the verses and blasts of social networks, in the virtual plazas that connect us. They all live within me. These opinions of knowing, knowing that I know naught, these assertions of ego, as life bubbles up every morning, and dances in every possible environment, as light falls kindly from the confines of the most remote universe, as we spin suspended incomprehensibly in the space and time of existence, as we fear, and hate and love, and accuse, and forgive, and live and die inevitably.

Today, I just want to curl up small like a ball of dust on an insignificant corner, and forgive myself, and in me forgive all others, the loudmouths and the quiet ones, the witnesses and the perpetrators, and implore forgiveness for all this terrible mess that we bring to ourselves in our ignorance, while this inevitable garden of life blooms, notwithstanding us, and loves, and seeks the light and shares the joy.

Turn the light on please, and drop that stone.


Arsenio Rodriguez is a member of the community.