There is a Hole in The World

Do you remember the Eagle’s song “Hole in the World”? It begins like this:

There’s a hole in the world tonight.
There’s a cloud of fear and sorrow.
There’s a hole in the world tonight.
Don’t let there be a hole in the world tomorrow.

[Music and lyrics by Don Henley and Glenn Frey]

I am an optimist and constantly look for the best. But it does seem, at least at times, that there is a hole in the world.

We live in a day of almost unrestrained violence. Children can be snatched from homes and slain at school. Bombs and missiles are exploded in public places. There is war and there are rumors of war. No community, no race, no nation is immune to nor protected from a growing culture of violence. It’s as if there is a hole in the world. Now, more than ever, we need to learn a different way, for the path we’re following leads to a dark and dangerous wilderness.

I like the way of Azim Khamisa and Ples Felix, two men who experienced first hand a cloud of fear and sorrow. One deadly evening in 1995, 14-year-old Tony Hicks shot and killed a 20-year-old college student and pizza deliveryman in San Diego, California. Tony and several other gang members ordered pizza and, when it was delivered, Tony was told by his gang to shoot the young man who delivered the food, Tariq Khamisa.

Tariq’s father Azim was enraged at the senseless killing. “There’s something really wrong with a society where kids kill kids,” he spat. He was angry with the kids, but he was even more upset with a culture that breeds so much violence.

Shortly after his son’s death, Azim heard from a gentleman named Ples Felix. Ples was Tony Hick’s grandfather and guardian. Azim invited Ples to his home and the two men shared their mutual grief and heartache. But it didn’t stop there — they also decided to do something. “I realized that change had to start with me,” Azim reasoned. Therefore, though he may have wanted revenge, the grieving father chose a different way to respond to his son’s death.

What happened? The victim’s father toured the United States with the killer’s grandfather. The two men visited schools with a message of nonviolence. They told the story of Tariq and Tony — one child dead and the other in prison. And in a growing worldwide culture of violence, these two men of peace changed lives. They warmed hearts and stimulated minds of countless young people. They showed us all there is a different way to live. 

David Orr, college professor and author, talks about this different way of living. “The plain fact is that the planet does not need more successful people,” he says. “But it does desperately need more peacemakers, healers, restorers, storytellers, and lovers of every kind. It needs people who live well in their places.” 

I like that…the world needs “people who live well in their places.” People like Azim Khamisa and Ples Felix. 

I want to be one of those people. So I will choose a different way. I will choose to be a peacemaker, a healer and a life-bringer. To the best of my ability, I will try to live well in my place. 

Because I believe there does not have to be a hole in the world tomorrow.

And so, we pray: Lord, help us to be a part making the hole in the world much smaller – forgive and speak the words of peace. Amen.

Grace and Peace

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