I really don't believe in evil.  These days, that's a hard belief to cling to, but I cling to it.  The word is everywhere.  Axis of Evil.  Sadam is evil.  George Bush is evil.

I really do believe in good.  I think evil is a projection of our fears and anger arising from our losing touch with the Good in ourselves, others, and the universe.  And that is a hard belief to cling to today also, but I cling to it.

About two weeks ago, Diana got the word that her father was in the hospital with fluid in his lungs, and his heart was weakening.  The next day, she was on the way to California.  After a few touch and go days, he started improving, and he is now in rehab, and will probably go home in about two weeks.  That's Good.

But when she and her brother were there, they discovered that her mother had fallen for a con man's ploy and had pretty well drained all their savings--tens of thousands of dollars worth--chasing a nonexistant lottery prize in Jamaica.  Thank heavens she couldn't touch the house, because that would have required her husband's signature.  So Diana ended up more upset about her mother than her father.

After several difficult days, her parents have agreed to sign a power of attorney over to her brother, who will handle their finances now.  And I suspect further changes are in store, and further trips to the West Coast.

Luckily the timing was right in her best period of the month, right after her chemo treatments.  She's coming back on Wed., and will have her next round of treatments on Fri.  

So, is the con man evil?  Or was he just filling the vacuum as her mother's mind lost sight of the Good--if it hadn't been him, would someone else have separated her from her money?

For one who doesn't believe in evil, I still resonate strongly with the statement "All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men (and women) to do nothing."  I would say this rather differently.  If we cease to strive for the Good, we quickly lose it.  And as we lose it, we see this separation as evil--a projection screen where our fears and hurts can romp and play, and we feel they are outside of us.

Do we really think we can show children thousands of murders on TV each year, and not have a backlash?  The spitting anger of the peace lovers seems as out-of-place as the spitting anger of the Right to Life people.  Funny how they really aren't the same people, but both say they are interested in stopping the killing of innocent life.  And, of course, since their beliefs are so inconsistent I find it hard to deeply respect either.

My overwhelming feeling is sadness, not anger.  I'm sad to be an American.  I'm sad that we elected a diplomatically challenged president.  I'm sad that we cut ourselves off from the rest of the world to go after a two-bit petty tyrant.  I'm sad that people are dying.  I'm sad that my mother-in-law's mind is going, and my father-in-law's heart isn't going to last much longer.  I'm sad that my Diana has had this laid on her, and that she is dealing with it 3000 miles from me, as I keep the boys in school and keep the home fires burning.

A wonderful church service today.  The minister gave us space to talk about the war.  The saddest thing of all were the parents with young children.  What could they tell the children?

Eson, who is not generally very articulate, stunned me the other day.  I was driving the boys to school, and NPR was talking about a program of 200 years of patriotic music that they were putting on later in the day.  They played a little bit of the WWI song "Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition."  The boys were totally grossed out--"That's really sick!" they said.  "But funny in a way...," Eson said.  I pointed out that a lot of people had died because other people thought their God had told them to kill these people.  Eson thought for a moment, and then said "Gods don't kill people, people with Gods kill people!"

I know the Good is there.  It's like looking for the sun in the fog--you know it's there, because there is a lot of light, but you can't see it directly.  But it makes itself known by reflecting off of lots of little things--melting snow, birds singing, people in love, children playing.  It's there.

Thank you for reading.

Copyright © 2001-2003 Pete Stevens. All rights reserved.