Love thy enemy.
There was a time I didn’t like Jesus. Not that I ever thought he was a bad guy. I would have probably wanted to be Jesus’ friend if I was around that time. I just didn’t really believe in the whole holy trinity and that he was the son of God. Or God himself in human form. I was still in Catholic school, I was still a little kid and I knew that he was a prophet. Just that. A big “just”. Instead of seeing the complexities around Jesus I just didn’t like him. Remember I was a kid.
Then I met Buddha. Then I met the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). Then I realized I could actually like Jesus.
I have been remembering Jesus. The stories I liked about him. Ways that I could be like him. I remembered him saying at one point in time to love thy enemy. Love thy enemy. I don’t have any enemies. When I was a kid there were people I hated. With good reason but I don’t hate anyone anymore. I don’t have any enemies. Maybe there are people that just don’t like me but I don’t think they are my enemy.
When I was reading the Teachings on Love by Thich Nhat Hanh I remember having to meditate on loving my enemy. The enemies that I don’t have. But then I remembered…
the man who abused me-an enemy
George W Bush-an enemy
an ex girlfriend-an enemy
and I tried to meditate on love for them and this was truly hard. This was hard because I had to see them as complex human beings who were hurt themselves and needed forgiveness and love so their lives would be better. Did I say this was hard?
Somehow it has gotten easier. I can’t tell you how that somehow happened. It was gradual. It didn’t just become an epiphany. It happened in between healing and freak outs. I started to believe in the truest form of love. I started to believe that love can change anything. I started to believe in love.
I pray. I pray everyday. Sometimes it takes me awhile to start praying. Sometimes it takes me awhile to let myself have that moment to be open and free. When I do I feel new. When I do I feel like myself. When I do I see that I am connected to every molecule in the universe. Every person. Every plant. Every rock.
I prayed in San Francisco on Friday for Gaza. I prayed for the children. I prayed for those who have been injured. Those who lost lives. Those whose hearts beat so fast not knowing what will happen next. I prayed for people to be wrapped around in God’s comfort during this time. My heart feels achy. I am not alone. I prayed. My picture was taken. I wondered if my prayers were captured and sent all over the world with one click.
My sister saw the picture and told me she thought of me when she went to church. Thought of me when the pastor was talking about love. Love thy enemy. Love everyone. Love even the man who killed Oscar Grant. Love him because he needs prayers, too. And I told her yes, I pray for the Israeli government everyday. I pray that God will give them so much light that they will see that killing is not the answer. I pray that God will guide them so they will stop the shootings, stop the bombs, stop the terror. I pray that they will be strong enough to just stop everything, to let go of their egos, to truly do God’s work. I pray for them. Everyone needs prayers. I pray for all world leaders to step up and stop being silent. I pray that they treat each other with loving kindness and see all the discrepancies in the world. I pray that they lead with their hearts and not with their egos. I pray for them because I believe in the power of change and maybe if they feel my prayers something will shift. I pray.
Years later I realized what Jesus meant by loving thy neighbor. I realized and now I can really like him. I understand him in ways the bible could not relay to me. I understand what he meant about love. I got work to do. So I pray.