Saturday, August 8, 2020

Thinning Out the Plot

Disciple: Why is there evil in the universe?

Ramakrishna: To thicken the plot.

Just finished reading American Dirt, a page-turner that draws you in even against your wish to be on the journey it so vividly describes. It’s about a mother and son and the people they meet trying to run from a Mexican drug cartel that has wiped out their family and is coming after them. Hard to say more without getting into “spoiler-alert” territory, but suffice it to say that though there is much focus on courage and redemption beyond what we think is possible, it is thick with evil and people systematically doing things beyond my capacity to understand. 

Combined with the other real testimonies coming out in the necessary tsunami of Black Lives Matter stories, the depth and breadth and sheer volume of evil in this world is simply overwhelming and impossible for a compassionate human heart to carry. Between white culture and male violence—and of course, the combination of them—one just has to wonder what the Creator (take your pick on naming him/ her/ it) had in mind. I get that there needed to be enough to make the plot interesting, but somehow, it got away from the soothing bedtime story to become a raging unabated storm of vile, nasty, malicious, horrific, revolting, disgusting, criminal, malevolent—and every other synonym a thesaurus can come up with—stew of sheer evil. Not only the graphic physical violence rendered by one human onto another, but the more-distanced work of the power-mongers in Washington and Wall Street wreaking havoc in-between their golf games.

I get that the deeper the evil, the higher the redemption and no one wants to read a story where everyone gets along, eats healthy organic food, perfects their downward dogs and never misses a please, thank you and you’re welcome. But I, for one, could use a little thinning of the plot. 

How about you? 

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