Monday, March 17, 2008

you shall love your neighbor as yourself

Another borrowed work. I like this for the way it combines macro-peacemaking with micro-peacemaking. Our lives [I'm making assumptions, of course] in America, with the death toll in the Middle East. Humanity, bound together.

Standard of Measure
by Megan Buff

Jesus said, “By your standard of measure it will be measured to you; and more will be given you besides. For whoever has, to him more shall be given; and whoever does not have, even what he has shall be taken away from him.” Mark 4:24-25

She is angry with me.

We no longer talk. Only static pervades the once-open channel between us.

I blamed her. How could this be my fault when I nearly pulled out all my hair – nearly collapsed on the floor of our apartment with hyperventilation – nearly forgot about her – trying to make it all work out? She did not work as hard, she must be the cause. What did she do for me?

She blames me, I am sure. She has not said so, but I know her well enough. We are each equally convinced this whole fiasco is the other’s fault.

I refuse to do her dishes until she apologizes. She can clean up after her own damn self – I’ve had enough of taking care of her. Perhaps I won’t even do mine. The dishes in the sink pile as high as our unspoken words.

She has virtually locked herself in our room. Her things have gone everywhere. Her books overtook the floor, a barricade against vacuuming. Her clothing invaded my bed. Every night I must oust them to sleep; every day they return, just as neatly folded. I refuse to ask what has occupied my desk.

This morning it was covered in a poster. Rosie the Riveter, defiant grey eyes staring out at me from behind her bulging arms. I gave my roommate that poster for her birthday last year. There was no note, no explanation. It seemed to have magically removed itself from her wall and arrived on my desk. I put it back. When I got back from breakfast, it had found its way to my desk again. I rolled it up and put it away before heading off to morning prayer service.

In the car, the radio squawks of the latest bombing in Israel. Israeli forces shot missiles at a Palestinian minivan. In retaliation, the Palestinians sent rockets into Israel. Six people died. I do not understand how this is the best strategy. Peace cannot be produced by retaliation, by strategic elimination of the other side. Peace can only be produced by conversation, co-operation, compromise.

I enter my apartment again. My roommate has taken her books from my shelf and moved them to her desk. If that’s the way she wants to be, well then, two can play at that game. I dig through her closet and retrieve my two shirts she borrowed last month. I don’t like them myself, but I sure won’t let her have them anymore.

The television jabbers on about a car bomb in Baghdad. Compromise, I think. That’s what we need. Some understanding in this world.

My roommate comes in the door behind me. I skulk out of the room. She doesn’t deserve conversation. That’s different. She hurt me.

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