R.I.P. to my dad

The images of grief on the faces of the women are so strong that I cannot differentiate - Palestinian, Jew. Grief is universal. Holocaust has never been restricted to only one race and only one time. Armageddon arrives for most generations and suffering is woven into the fabric of every life. So what’s the point of this? My dad died the other day. Although we never had an easy relationship, it was my privilege to be with him as he ‘exited stage right’, left his earthly vehicle and moved into Love Incarnate - the aspect of God which resonates most clearly for me. Dad was a Catholic. I don’t think Jesus came to start a religion and doesn’t really mind what group we’re in as long as ‘Love thy neighbour as thyself.’ and ‘Do unto others as you would have done to yourself.’ are the foundation. It’s a bit difficult to stone people to death for perceived blasphemy and also to apply those principles. I had a bit of trouble with both those sayings. What if you don’t love yourself ? How to love anyone else? Hmm ... ‘do the best you can to be kind’ was the best I could come up with. That second saying assumes that what we’d like done to ourselves is something that the rest of humanity might also appreciate. We know this isn’t always the case which just goes to show that it’s very dangerous to only take things literally and to only see face value. Tears roll as I witness the still new love and still raw grief of an old Australian woman whose husband had died in the second World War and whose letters reveal a man motivated by courage of conviction and a desire to protect his family, his nation and ‘what is right.’ ‘Conflict arises when people know that they are right.’ So says The ‘ I Ching’. Know - not think or feel. Knowing is different to believing. You know from direct experience. You draw beliefs from that experience which may or may not be true. If you have no direct experience, you draw belief from the experience of someone - ‘other’. There’s a view that Islam, Christianity and the Jewish faith are somehow bonded, by virtue of a belief and acknowledgement of ‘One True God.’ It’s an uneasy bonding. Christ’s message is not about ‘smiting enemies’.It is about ‘substance over ceremony.’ It is all about fairness, charity, understanding. That we are all God’s children - believer or not. Christ has given me the greatest challenge of all - any damn fool can love his friends but ‘Love your enemies.’!!!!!!!! I have lived awhile with hatred - a bitter continual moment. While I might have wanted vengeance, I could keep dumping it in the lap of whatever God Is even though my heart sinks because my incomplete and tiny perception doesn’t include a mean spirited God. Love doesn’t take vengeance and so I’m sort of hovering for a moment here. So I don’t understand why there isn’t a Fatwa against suicide bombings, or civilian killings at all, when The Prophet was very clear about his ‘rules of war.’ No indiscriminate killing and - to avoid complete bloodlust - and I could be wrong in my reasoning - be careful to avoid damage to vegetation or crops. A Covenant between God and the Jewish People only makes sense to me - if we’re talking about a Universal God - if the responsibility of each individual Jew were to be a shining example of all that is fair and honourable. On an individual level this may be true but the policies of Israel Government towards the Palestinians don’t reflect this. To be honourable you have to have the best and transparent intentions. What hope for a viable state of Palestine when the map clearly shows a few puddles of land, removed from each other, just like the Jewish ghettoes of Europe of sixty years ago. Grief is universal and springs unbidden from a deeper well. My dad dies. He had the chance to live a long and constructive life. The identical grief on the faces of those Palestinian and Jewish women who had lost their loved ones in such a pointless waste..... this is an ongoing grief of ‘if only’ ......and the same situation is mirrored across the globe. Islamic Terrorist is an oxymoron, just like Christian Fundamentalist, just like Zionist Jew. Maybe it’s exciting to ‘know’ you are right and to think in terms of rewards in heaven or paradise. Doesn’t that mean getting paid as a servant instead of perhaps having a real relationship with God? My dad didn’t want an Eulogy at his funeral. I wrote him one while he was in his last few weeks. He was pleased to receive it. It was a postcard perfect day for a drive up to Palm Beach, a slow meander over Collaroy Plateau and down around Narrabeen Lakes. Across the main road and onto the beach road and followed that to Mona Vale. Dad, in the front passenger seat with oxygen tubes up his nose, oxygen tank strapped in the back, chuckling as Chris and I regaled him with verbal clips of ‘The Life of Brian.’, the most profound and funny commentary on the frailties of man and a film dad hadn’t seen. We had coffee, at dads request, at the flying boat pontoon café near the lighthouse at Palm Beach. Watched a seaplane take off and stayed a perfect length of time. We ‘took a look’ at the mansions and holiday homes of the rich and etc and then a leisurely drive back through Avalon and Newport. Dad told me to take a left in Newport and we pulled up at the door of his two good friends. He didn’t feel up to going in, joking that we wouldn’t get out for two hours and be out of oxygen and so we drove him home and got him ‘tired but comfortable’ That was his last day on earth and he died early the following morning. I’ve written this, a bit stream of consciousness, and it’s part of my process of coming to terms with what has just happened. If you’ve read this far perhaps this also has meaning for you. I had a few drinks last night and had a thought motivated by good humour and affection. God doesn’t expect perfection .... that’s why He made me inexperienced but without prejudice; gave me as free a will as life’s circumstance would allow; and invites a closer rapport in such a gentle way that I must seek but need go no distance to find.