Evil exists, it is at work in our society and in our lives everyday. Don't believe me? Open your eyes wide and look around. There are the obvious signs of evil, murder, rape, etc. and as we get closer to Holy Week, I am flooded with a memory. I am standing alone in a former residence in the main square of Malaga Spain and I am crying my heart out, literally weeping. I am in the centre of a traveling exhibition about the holy shroud of Turin and the nice British lady in my listening device has just explained to me the abuse and torture Jesus suffered at the hands of others, in great detail. I now have a clear image in my mind of what being crucified actually means. Laying in a glass casket(for lack of a better word) is a full scale anatomically correct sculpture of the body of Christ. Every bruise and every injury present, every broken bone. There is hardly an inch of Him that has not been harmed. And HIS face, HIS poor beautiful face, is an image I wont soon forget.
But evil is at work in much more subtle ways, in addiction, depression, cancer, bullying, anxiety and even sibling rivalry. During this Lenten period, I have been taking part in a Lenten study that consists of daily devotionals. We are using this book; Diving Deeply edited by Betty Lynn Schwab. One of the days last week spoke on evil, the more subtle. And we discussed it at length, when we met this week. It got me to thinking of a patient, I had a few years ago. I can't remember what we had him for or if he was even a surgical patient, but that really doesn't matter. The fact is he was a young man (late twenties), attractive, nice and he was completely addicted to pills and his life was a mess. And my thoughts about him were this; "What a waste, what a fricken waste." I know I was not the only one who saw this young man this way. After that gentle reminder that evil is everywhere, I look at him in a different way. I don't see "a waste," I see evil at work. Truth is I didn't know his life, what struggles lead him to the path he was on. And while I do believe that everyone needs to take responsibility for the path they heading down, that doesn't mean they don't deserve to be treated with compassion while they struggle and often fail. Compassion is GODs work at its finest and yet we give it all too infrequently. Judging is easier than looking evil in the face.
Evil is hard to talk about. We don't do it much, not as Christians, not as humans and defiantly not as nurses. It is so much easier to blame the person for their failings, sometimes we forget that no one is perfect, often people blame GOD for the bad things that happen. I often hear myself say "GOD didn't do that, people did." When actually evil did. It's easier than facing the truth...evil is out there and no one is immune, not you, not me. Scary right?
We've all faced our demons, we have all had our struggles, some more than others. I have been fortunate to have a live where the forces of good are so much stronger than those of evil. Yes, I've had my heartbroken in many pieces and I've been bullied and I've been touched by cancer but evil did not win. I'm sure that evil is lurking outside my bedroom window right now but since I'm usually oblivious to any male attention I might be getting, I don't notice him. And I need to and I need to tell him to get lost. The best way I can think of to do that is the Brave Girl way, come to think of it, the Jesus way; Treat everyone, including myself (especially myself) with Kindness and Compassion. Everyone deserves it because no one is perfect. What did Jesus say; "Let those without sin among you case the first stone." John 8:7