Friday, October 2, 2009

Why Hate?


In the desert a voice cries out: “Proclaim a fast! Blow the trumpet. Call an assembly. Gather the elders. The time for catharsis is here. Embrace your wrath, your hatred. Forsake love for the sake of finding it again.”
-The Gospel According to Hate 1:1

For the next forty days and forty nights I’m fasting. I’m wandering into the heart of the dark forbidden desert of my hate. You are cordially invited to come along.
What lies in the heart of my hatred: wisdom, healing, or even love? Or are the shame-filled voices of my religious past correct? Will exploring my hatred breed only more resentment? Will I find only despair? Will I sink myself in a sea of ire?
“Why hate?” you ask, “Why go there? What good can you possibly find?”
You see, I have this enormous fear, one that has hounded me for decades, and, at age thirty-five, I find myself unable to elude it. My optimism has been consumed; my hope, spent. I did my best to love my neighbor as myself. I loved my enemies and prayed for my persecutors, but the truth that was supposed to set me free has failed.
Everywhere I turn, I’m greeted by fearful faces speaking with hateful voices, but no one admits it. Denial is the true “Way”—the gospel of our globalized culture. We deny not only our own feelings and how they affect our decisions and our relationships at home, but also how they negatively impact the poor, vulnerable, ill, and marginalized. Good guys are finishing last, and bad guys are reaping the benefits of their deceit, greed, and ignorance. I feel the optimism of my youth slipping away, my inner voices of hope and awe drowning in a cacophony of anger, pain, and resentment.
I stand at the precipice of my greatest fear: becoming a jaded old bastard, a cynic with no sense of awe, a misanthrope without the ability to trust or love.
I don’t want to be a hateful person, so it’s time to do something about it. It’s time to face my fear, to turn and run into the face of it, to leap into the unfathomable chasm. I’m going on a forty day diet of hate (for you religious folks out there: a hate fast or a Jesuit spiritual retreat of hateful reflection). I’m naming my fear and entering it.
Wasn’t it Aristotle who first said that the opposite of love isn’t hate, but indifference?
This will not be a journey of indifference. This will be a journey of passion and honesty. I hope that honestly naming my hate will help to understand it, overcome it, and maybe to move beyond it, but really, I have no idea where this will end, if naming my hate will temper it and transform it into something less powerful or if I will still end up like the crusty old cynics that I saw in the seminary and priesthood, no longer men, but shells of resentment and regret.
 What I do know is that the most common confessions that I heard while a priest were for anger or hatred. Many of us have been religiously conditioned to fear our feelings viewing them as sins. We’re taught to cut them out, bury them deep within, or to exorcise them with prayer. Well, that hasn’t worked for me.
So, here I go. I’m on the edge of the dark precipice. Those of you, who already hate me, may be itching to push me in. Too late! I’m diving.


Postscript:
The hate feast will begin on Sunday, October 4, 2009, and conclude forty days later on November 12, 2009.
Until then, it’s a Marti Gras of love!

3 comments:

Gazelle said...

Thanks for getting my fucking humor. I hate you for always being the first to get your assignments in, but on the other hand, it makes for a great model, in which case, I love you. It is always so complex. Taoism.

ARB said...

Tom, this hate blog is an awesome idea. From what you've written so far, I think the most powerful emotion emerging from this project is the absence of hate for yourself. It comes out so clearly that you love who you are, where you are, and who you're with right now, and that's so much more than most bible-beating bigots can say. For me the "moral" of this blog is that the only truly "evil" and unhealthy kind of hate is self-hatred.

I think this might be the first time I've seen your writing, and I love the cutting sarcasm. I haven't written any poems or non-fiction since June this year (aah we need to talk! I will call you on Skype sometime when my roommate isn't here), but this makes me want to skip class today and go write. Much love from Istanbul, Abby

FDeF said...

Had to begin here. Will take some time to catch up. Thanks for your comments on my blog.