March 2, 2017, Prescott-
A handsome, smug man, in his twenties, happens upon a lovely woman, about his age, tries to get a date with her, and is rebuffed. He stalks her, online, and screen-shoots photos she has posted on her social media. He finds that, instead of going on a date with him, she went to a rave, at a converted factory. Incensed, (no pun intended), he goes to the very next rave, finds her, and drops an incendiary device near where she is standing. He has carefully jammed the nearest exit shut, the device goes off, and 39 people die, in the ensuing blaze. The woman he wants survives, but is burned over 30 % of her body, and is blinded.
This was the gist of a three-part episode of Dick Wolf’s “Chicago” quadrilogy, which aired Wednesday evening. It hit hard at me, for several reasons:
- I have had a family member, by the grace of God, survive severe burns and go on to live a full life. I could not imagine life without that family member.
- There was a time in my life, about seven years, when I was rebuffed by women, primarily because of my own awkwardness and quirky behaviour, not because of any particular flaw on their part. I never harboured any desire for revenge against any of them, figuring we would each find our own special soul. I did, and had thirty good years with her. One of the women, I know for certain, also did and has had nearly 47 wonderful years, with a very good man. I’m willing to bet that a good many others have had fine relationships. I’m glad we’ve all moved on, in peace.
- I maintain that the worst human loss is that of a parent losing a child. Thirty nine couples lost a child, in the triptych mentioned above. My in-laws lost their daughter, nearly six years ago. My mother lost a son, many years ago. Some good friends have lost children, over the years.
- I know children, still of formative age, who show serious signs of heading in a sociopathic, or at least misanthropic, direction. Good people, professionals, are doing all they can to head such a fate off, at the pass, in a manner of speaking. Yet, we can’t save everyone.
This is the season when we Baha’is conduct a Fast, of nineteen days’ duration. There is a physical component: Able-bodied people, between the ages of 15-70, take no food or drink, between sunrise and sunset, during those nineteen days. The more important spiritual component gives rise to examinations of self. It is all about purification, as the season of Lent, which coincides with our Fast this year, does for Christians, when conducted at its best. The self-examination aspect is what led me to share the above observations.