Saturday, February 8, 2020

Pierced by Sorrow

I haven’t felt this bad since November of 2016. After a brief plunge into darkness when evil won the Electoral College, the Women’s March turned me around toward hope and the sense that evil would walk itself to the cliff’s edge and step off. But the recent events in the Senate shut the lights out again. And I know I’m not alone.

What helps is to telescope out to a larger perspective and try to see things in a greater context. And so enter yesterday’s celebration of Thaipusam in Singapore. As I watched people insert sharp needles into the back of a man holding up a heavy structure and watched him bear up without a wince of outward pain, I felt the outward image of what I and so many feel inwardly. Dart after dart of shameless actions piercing our flesh—truly an extraordinary number when you add kids in cages, Ukraine, Stormy, Russia, tax evasions, murders (Iran), praising of neo-Nazis— dart after dart after dart and that’s just the beginning of the list, while we stand there alone holding the heavy weight of the Constitution and something called democracy on our small shoulders while the Senate refuses to hold their share of the burden and tacitly endorses each and every dart. That’s precisely the image of what’s going down.



But helpful to remember that this is a sacred undertaking and at the end, the goal is for evil to be vanquished. President Soorapadman will have his day of reckoning. As described in Wikipedia:

The word Thaipusam is a combination of the name of the month, Thai, and the name of a star, Pusam. This particular star is at its highest point during the festival. The festival commemorates the occasion when Parvati gave Murugan a Vel "spear" so he could vanquish the evil demon Soorapadman

Murugan is the embodiment of Shiva's light and wisdom and devotees pray to him to overcome the obstacles they face, as He is the divine vanquisher of evil. The motive of Thaipusam festival is to pray to God to receive his grace so that bad traits are destroyed.


In the Festival, devotees choose to purify themselves and undergo such rigorous pain and sacrifice voluntarily. We have no choice in the matter. But by accepting the circumstance, bearing up and making the pilgrimage to get out the vote, we can help participate in the vanquishing of evil. Both the inner and most certainly and most necessary, the outer as well. The pain is still sharp and the structure heavy to carry, but now I at least have a sense of why this must be so. Onward, my friends.


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