The Tears

The IDF this week killed Hamas commander Ahmed Jaabari in his car in Gaza. Here’s the footage of that moment. Try as you might, you will never see that rocket coming until kaboom. Hamas has responded with rocket fire into Israel, and it follows that more Palestinians civilians will die with Israel’s fire (also, three Israeli’s have been killed and it is presumable that there will be even more causalities.) In truly surreal 21st century, here’s proof that Hamas tweeted back at the IDF. I know, it’s weird.

#awkward #nolongerironic

This week I saw very disturbing footage of the corpses of young Palestinians. The footage was filmed in 2009, during the relentless Palestinian air raids over Israel, a time typified by the continuous circling of helicopters overhead. This sense of threat and unease continues, it seems, in Palestine.

One thing is clear: Palestinians live in a prison. I have no political affiliations, nor do I have any agenda, or loyalties: all I know is that Palestine is a prison. The film, Tears of Gaza, shows more than anyone could possible hope to exaggerate or “spin” about the wretched misfortune of a parent in Gaza, trying to live with some hope, not for themselves, but for their children, and of mere survival.

Here’s what a Variety Columnist had to say of the film,

“Few antiwar films register with the disturbing immediacy and visceral terror of “Tears of Gaza”…Almost purely observational, “Tears” doesn’t take sides as much as obliterate politics: The wounded parents carrying maimed children are not in uniform, and the bullet holes in the 2-year-olds did not arrive by accident…

The morbidity and loss and genuine awfulness of their unease has had me wondering whether I can ever complain again. Does my confusion matter? Does my pain count, I wondered,  believing that it was made completely trivial by the heaviness of their torment.

However, this week, a wise friend of mine comforted me with this compassionate advice: she said that you don’t have to “compare your suffering to somebody else’s” in order for them to matter. Everyone will suffer, and everyone’s suffering matters.

You see, I would like to think that I’ve had  a hard week, and not purely because I want to have a whinge. It’s cold and inhumane to ignore pain, to ignore our suffering, comparatively small as it is. Worse yet to make it seem unimportant, run of the mill, collateral.

Ary Scheffer, Christ Weeping Over Jerusalem

Yes, shit happens. But should we consent to the possibility that God “tolerates” it? Is he some cold overseer, a referee more concerned with some notion of the “rules of the game”  than with the players? I think of that scene in Tree of Life where someone tells a mother who has lost her child that “He gives and takes away, that’s just the way he is. ” That type of detachment is unacceptable to me.

Certain well meaning religious folk, as well as the sometimes generally morbid, empty platitudes which we all offer to each other, may give the sense that God employs pain, that it’s one of his allies.

Here’s what Orthodox Christian theologian D B Hart, in his “Tsunami and Theodicy” says on the matter,

“As for comfort, when we seek it, I can imagine none greater than the happy knowledge that when I see the death of a child I do not see the face of God, but the face of His enemy”

Bouguereau, Virgin of Consolation

Hart’s statement that God suffers alongside his creation, hanging from that cross, arms outstretched, vulnerable, tormented and hurting, offers deep consolation. He cries with us, as he did for Jerusalem, and this creates more comfort than the vague”God works in mysterious ways” and, perhaps, than “He giveth and taketh away.” God hates pain, and he loves us.

And so I look to those blessed tears, first of the Man of Sorrows, then, of his poor mother, who must also witness his pain, who is also pierced with a sword.

I cherish your tears sweet mother, and I cry with you for this whole awful, disgusting mess.

His cross, his “despising the shame” is my healing and hope.

I crave, in earnest  that day when “He will wipe every tear from their eyes, when there will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain…”

And I will accept nothing else.

2 thoughts on “The Tears

  1. This is so you. 🙂 Beautifully written and threading together the awful pain and suffering of today with the only thing that can even begin to make “sense” of it – the pain and suffering of the Cross. I’m praying for everyone in Israel and Palestine right now.

    • Thanks so much. Yes , I think of that phrase “he overcomes death with death.” Also, in the problem of pain C S Lewis says “you die, and die, and then you are beyond death” He compares this to our passing through a bottle neck, growing narrower and narrower until we are beyond it.

      Hey, two things, firstly, I’ve been thinking about Thomas, the doubting disciple, as a patron and an intercessor for skeptics. Is that a thing in Catholicism, I’ve seen the phrase “go to Thomas” and I’d like to think as much. I need his prayers!

      Secondly, met someone called Melissa tonight. we chatted about Catholic Cravings and the conversion story and what a help its been to everyone. Thought to share ! Sydney is a small town isn’t it!

      Everyone’s a bit flat chat at the moment, but we’re due for a catchup I think!

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