I just found out from CNN that a senior U.S. official says Osama bin Laden was killed by the U.S. forces in a mansion outside the Pakistani capital of Islamabad. Apparently, President Obama is gearing up for a press conference to tell us more.
I’m sitting here on my sofa working on my book, and I wonder whether this will be one of those moments I always remember -- like the day the first Space Shuttle exploded or the day Princess Di died, or the day 9/11 happened.
This ghost of evil has been spiriting around caves for a decade now, and just before 9/11’s anniversary, he’s gone. The almighty United States triumphs again.
I felt a rush of relief, almost glee.The Wizard of Oz song, “Ding Dong The Witch Is Dead” rang through my mind, and I wanted to jump on the rooftop and yell, “Rejoice, munchkins!” or start yodeling the Hallelujah chorus.
But that lasted only about ten seconds, and then I caught myself. Wait. Someone just died. Someone’s child lost a parent. Some friend lost someone they trust.
It was a sobering thought, and my Inner Pilot Light lit up just thinking about it. My heart filled with compassion and forgiveness, and I genuinely hoped he didn’t suffer in the end. After all, I don’t want revenge. I certainly don’t want him killing more people, so I’m not sorry his mass-murdering ass is toast. But I don’t hate him. I don’t like to fill my mind and heart with such toxic feelings.
And then I started noticing how people were responding on Twitter and Facebook. "An eye for an eye!" "Take that, you motherf*cker!" and other such things.
Now don't get me wrong. I'm not the least bit sorry that rat bastard is dead. At least this way he won't be able to mastermind another mass murder. And yes, I know the families of the victims of 9/11 wil finally get some closure. And I'm glad for that. I hope they heal.
But really. Must we be so HATEFUL? Where's the love, people? What good does it do us to start spewing venom around the world? The way I see it, more hate & celebration will only incite more violence and fear. Pray for world peace & live in love.
Go America! Rah Rah Rah!
Once I got over the shock of the news, I started thinking about how this will affect our country. Osama bin Laden has been an icon of pure evil in American culture for as long as I can remember, long before 9/11. And when we couldn’t hunt that bastard down and kill him after he orchestrated such a horrific attack, he took on mythic proportions of an almost superhero villain nature.
And now people are already talking about how awesome this will be for United States morale. And Obama's speech was just...strange. Like "Rah rah rah! Go America!"
And I am happy for our country. I love my country. And this has been a huge weight hanging over us all for a decade which has made it hard for us to heal from a tragedy that tore us apart. Part of me wants to jump up and down with all the other munchkins and stomp on legs of that witch we finally knocked out. Plus,I'm definitely an Obama fan.
Choose Love, Not Fear
But another part of me just feels awful that wild celebrations are happening on social media and elsewhere. Maybe it's because I'm an MD that I just can't celebrate death. I don't watch horror movies. And even when justice is done- as I believe it was in this case- I just can't celebrate the loss of another human life, no matter how justified. Which makes me feel kind of lonely tonight as much of the country unites and yells "WOO HOO!" I just wonder why we can't bond in love, rather than over a shared hatred and a death? It just makes me sad. And it reminds me how fear-driven our culture is. Osama bin Laden was kind of like the Gremlins of fear that live within us all- you couldn’t see him, you couldn’t touch him, you couldn’t hear him, and yet, he was there. Always there, lurking like a shadow, making us feel afraid.
And now he’s gone. And I wonder whether we might celebrate this day, not as a “Yee-haw” because someone’s father died, but because today we can learn a vital lesson about fear. Osama bin Laden died today, but some other evil zealot can certainly replace him. We’re not safe, by any means, and if someone decides to hurt us again, they will, regardless of how many airport security measures we employ.
We might overcome one little fear, and another one just sidles right in with its evil nothings spewed into your ear. You can’t get rid of them. Terrorists and inner Gremlins will never go away.
All we can do is manage how we feel about them. Are we going to live perpetually in fear? Will we let fear dominate our life? Should we start freaking out because now the terrorists are probably going to be pissed and want revenge?
Or can we manage to find peace, love, and serenity in the midst of the fear? Can we choose love instead of hate? Can we expand instead of constrict?
I choose to expand. I choose to open my heart. I choose to notice the fear and send it to time out. I choose love.
My prayer is that this event will bring closure to a country that got torn apart by a nationwide tragedy and that we can find connection with each other, not from hate, but from love. Let the healing begin- and continue.
"I mourn the loss of thousands of precious lives, but I will not rejoice in the death of one, not even an enemy. Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that" --( a loose misquote of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr put out all over the internet they day bin Laden died- but hey, it's so great, it's worth repeating!)
What about you? How does this news make you feel? Tell us what you think.
PS. Are you ready to banish fear, choose peace, and skyrocket to the stratosphere? Get out of your own way and sign up for this free e-course on how to overcome fear and stop being so afraid, whether or not there are terrorists in the world.
Lissa Rankin, MD: Founder of OwningPink.com, Pink Medicine Woman coach, motivational speaker, and author of What’s Up Down There? Questions You’d Only Ask Your Gynecologist If She Was Your Best Friend and Encaustic Art: The Complete Guide To Creating Fine Art With Wax.
When you comment on an Owning Pink blog post, we invite you to be authentic and loving, to say what you feel, to hold sacred space so others feel heard, and to refrain from using hurtful or offensive language. Differing opinions are welcomed, but if you cannot express yourself in a respectful, caring manner, your comments will be deleted by the Owning Pink staff.