It is heart wrenching to see what humanity is capable of doing to one another.
How can any person or group of people be capable of murdering innocent children?
It is an unfathomable thought for most.
A difficult but more accessible question is to ask ourselves: What lengths would a parent or group go to protect their own children?
For those of us who have children, we can imagine ourselves being capable of almost anything.
In trying to make sense or perhaps find solace regarding the situation in Israel and Gaza, I picked up an incredible book I had read years ago. It is the novel Apeirogon by Colum McCann. It is based on the true story of Rami Elhanan and Bassam Aramin. Two fathers, one is Israeli and one is Palestinian.
As younger men, they were both directly involved in the conflict; one found his way to the army, the other to prison. Tragically, both would lose a daughter; killed by the other side. The story chronicles their pain, their anger and remarkably their hope. Eventually they would find their way to one another and join a group called Combatants for Peace. There they became close friends and continue to work together to advocate for peace and understanding.
I have often quoted Helen Keller, who wrote, “Although the world is full of suffering, it is also full of the overcoming of it,” without knowing the rest of the quote or its context.
She went on to say, “My optimism, then, does not rest on the absence of evil, but on a glad belief in the preponderance of good and a willing effort always to cooperate with the good, that it may prevail.”
People are capable of unspeakable evil and cruelty. And they are capable of forgiveness, grace, charity and peace.
The bridge between the two can seem an infinite chasm, yet as parents like Rami, Bassam and thousands of others have shown, we are capable of crossing it.