The Gifts of Evil


The whole of life includes both light and shadow, much like this path in Fort Tryon, experienced on summer’s most beautiful morn. The light calls us forward, calls us higher, transforms us into everything we are created to be, but not without first moving through some shadows.

Recently, we watched the new documentary that Princes William and Harry have made in honor of their mother, marking 20 years since her death.  Through their losses, these young men embody an intense humanness, an authenticity that forms a beam of light into the darkness of our current circumstances.

This, on the same day that the new communications director from the White House let loose a public stream of profanity, an orgy of passive aggression, toward the chief of staff. The contrast could not have been greater in my own psyche, the words of young, noble humanitarians vs. the ego driven hate speech from a former hedge fund manager who is far, far outside of his league.

The brighter the light, the more intense the shadows become.  The deeper the darkness, the brighter is the light when it appears.

My soul is groaning these days over many things, but chief among them is the presence of unchecked evil in the world, the corporate greed, the callous disregard for the basic needs of human beings, the rampant bullying that goes on in the name of government, the kind I have not experienced this fully since third grade. My groan says it this way, “HOW LONG MUST WE DO THIS?”

It is not altruistic to take comfort in ancient words from time to time, and what comes to mind is the Genesis story of Joseph, having been sold into slavery by his vengeful brothers, and years later elevated to a prominent and powerful position that would enable him to in turn save their very lives.  In a scene of deep emotion, once the brothers were aware of the truth, he says simply this, “You meant it for evil, but God used it for good.”

The evil we see in the world today is indeed evil, but we need not be at it’s effect. It hurts; it stinks to high heaven; it makes me feel ill. But try as it might, it only intensifies the brightness of the light, which is the true gift of evil itself.

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