Friday, November 16, 2018

Pity for 45

The other day, as I read the news reports of our president's brooding bitterness and fury in the wake of the midterm elections, I found myself feeling sad. I cannot help but see in our president a deeply unhappy human being who has all his life been groping for happiness in things that don't provide true satisfaction: power and authority, money, fame, bodily pleasures, the accolades and praise of others (real or feigned).

And when he is inevitably thwarted in his pursuit of them--or worse, when they fail to satisfy, fail to fill the void that he believes this new thing will finally fill (a gorgeous porn star! a lavish penthouse! a hit TV show! winning the most powerful office on planet Earth!)--he becomes furious, smearing his distress onto anyone near him, calling names, blaming others for that dark emptiness in him that he doesn't know how to fill.

Maybe you don't see him this way. Maybe you see him as someone to be envied or someone to be hated. But what I see fills me with neither of those things. What I see fills me with that species of sorrow we call pity.

Some of us try to bring the world under our thumb, only to learn that this just makes our world as small as we are. The path to real meaning, real joy, lies in the other direction: appreciating how much greater than ourselves the world is and making ourselves greater by loving that world, by opening ourselves up to that which is not us, those who are different, those who are other, and by feeling the ultimate humility as we brush up against the infinite creative love that lies at reality's heart.

My prayer is that every living soul will discover that truth and be transformed by it. Including our angry, unhappy president.