Eileen Kreutz reflects on silence at the Women in Black vigil

A Zen Saying: "Don't Just Do Something, Stand There."

Along with others, men and women of like beliefs, I Stand There. The comments of people passing by, the horns honking, the occasional jeers, even the nods and thumbs-up signs of support wash past me unanswered.

I do nothing about any of it. I simply stand there.

Stand there against war, against rape as a tool of war, opposing the destruction of people in conflicts around the world. I stand also against the rape of the earth itself, this planet with its fragile resources.

The modern tools of war leave such poisons upon this earth—with bombs now encased in depleted uranium shells; with carcinogenic materials left littering yesterday's wasted war fields; with germ warfare; with the proliferation of nuclear weaponry. All of these are ticking time bombs for the health and future of all sentient beings of the planet.

Along with incredible loss of life and individual human beings, I stand and mourn also for the destruction of our planet itself, the pollution of water and air and all the precious, irreplicable natural resources that are needed for survival and quality of life. My heart tries to calm its own anger at those who flaunt their weapons and arrogantly ignore our dependence on nature itself. The Friday vigils are a time to allow my understandings to take deeper root within my mind and heart.

And these days, I stand and think about this story, which floated my way recently:
A native American boy was talking with his Grandfather. "What do you think about the world situation?" He asked.

The grandfather replied, "I feel two wolves are fighting in my heart. One is full of anger and hatred. The other is full of love, forgiveness and peace."

"Which one will win?" asked the boy.

To which the grandfather replied, "The one I feed."

The Women in Black vigil, on Friday, at noon, is feeding time.

To me the silence feels to be a true and honest response to all the "chatter" of these times—we have heard now for months of yet another upcoming "war"—almost like a new movie release. Silence lets it all sink in—and offers a place from which to begin to sort it out. Mostly, I simply offer my caring and concern to the universe, for what it's worth.

What happens inside is that I come to feel (within the first 5 minutes or so) that it is necessary simply to stand there—to not feel obliged to answer (out loud or in my mind) the various passers-by who try to engage with us—either by shouting their eagerness for war (“Nuke 'em,” as one young man yelled last week) or by waving their signs of support. It feels right just to stand there—hoping others will reflect on the real meaning of war as well.

Lastly, of course I feel it is political—everything we do is political in some sense. The vigils are a reminder to everyone that passes us that there is at least some resistance to war and that not all of us fall in line totally with the current flag-waving mania.

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