The knife edge of magic and horror

I live in a world of magic. The hummingbird in my morning glories. The vast beauty of sunsets in a Texas sky. Greetings from my dog when I come home.  For the most part, my world is beautiful and safe.

Allyson-in-Triplicate and I had lunch this week and she told me about a movie she had watched called "The Boy in the Striped Pajamas." The film is about Bruno, the eight-year-old son of the commandant at a concentration camp and his friendship with a Jewish boy on the other side of the camp fence. (Allyson is Jewish, so the story is intensely personal.)

Earlier in the week, I had seen an infographic visualizing six million.  It showed in stark contrast all of the people killed in the Holocaust in comparison with other wars. Before, I had always conceptualized the horror in terms of the stories. Gaunt faces in black and white photographs. The diary of Anne Frank. But seeing the infographic was the first time I had grasped the scale. 

And I began to wonder how something so terrible could happen at such magnitude.

I know this. It starts seemingly innocuous, otherwise it would get stamped out before it gained momentum.

Worse, we experience the seeds of it within ourselves every time we:
- See someone as "less than" us.
- Are not honest in standing up for someone because we fear what others will think of us.
- Want to edit someone out of a group.
- See ourselves and those like us as right, special or otherwise more worthy based on religion, country, education or economics.

How can we not feel the echo when we hear the righteous anger about illegal immigrants, gay marriage or --more personally--the guy who cuts us off in traffic? It is easy to breeze by the passage in Matthew where Jesus equates harboring anger to murder, because none of us could ever see ourselves as murderers. The thing is murder is the natural end to those thoughts and emotions when left unchecked.

We live in a world of hummingbirds, sunsets and great beauty, but we have got to be able to see the beauty in the humans we share it with or it will cease to touch us. 

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© Random Cathy
Maira Gall