Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Brian’s Reflection: Thursday, November 18, 2010

At the end of the day, love and compassion will win.

Terry Waite, hostage envoy; he was freed on
this date in 1991, after 1763 days in captivity.

Life is strange, isn’t it? We just never know the truth about a lot if not most of things. Terry Waite went as an envoy of the Archbishop of Canterbury (Robert Runcie) several times, managing to save the lives of several Middle East hostages. In 1987, he was abducted by Islamist terrorists in Lebanon, and finally released almost five years later. “To some he remained a saintly and courageous figure ….. But to others, notably including journalists specializing in Middle East affairs, he was a muddle-headed meddler and publicity-seeker who allowed himself to be used by Oliver North and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). Waite allegedly took credit for hostage releases that had almost everything to do with arms deals and little to do with his efforts. To those critics he was a man who defied his church's wishes for his own vainglory and who put his family on the rack to feed his own hunger for headlines.” [] In his writings later, he was vague about his connections with the CIA.

I would like to believe that what Terry Waite said about the triumph of love and compassion is true. It would be comforting to believe this, wouldn’t it? I have to say that experience and history do not seem to prove him right. Such a belief has little to do, I think, with “the facts”, with Reality.

However, the belief that love and compassion ultimately will win out is a tool of a life of Hope. In the same category as things like “Justice will be done”, and “After death we will be in Heaven with God”. And dare I say, the Beatitudes. It doesn’t really matter whether these things ultimately come to pass. What matters is how they guide our Life ….. for the here and now.

I don’t really want a Reward “after” for being Compassionate or Loving or Just or “poor in spirit” or a Peacemaker or merciful or whatever.

I want them to make me a “friend of God” ….. and to make a difference right now, day by day, in a World that can be so harrowing. Nothing makes me shudder so much as our inhumanity.


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