Elie Wiesel wrote something that changed me. He is a Holocaust survivor who saw things no one should ever have to see.
Years after the War he published a 100-page book called Night in which he recounted his experience. He captured in words what no words can express.
In 2009 he gave an address to graduating students at Bucknell University. He said something that has become a kind of motto for him:
The opposite of love is not hate, but indifference.
That means the opposite of education is not ignorance, it is indifference.
The opposite of beauty is not ugliness, but indifference.
The opposite of life is not death, but indifference. Indifference to life and death.
So whatever you do in your life, indifference is never an option.
Indifference is never the beginning of a process, it is the end of a process.
How indifferent have we become? Have we contributed to the slow fade of love, of education, of beauty, of life itself?
This has been on my mind as Lent begins. Lent is the 40 day period leading up to Easter (excluding Sundays). It is a time of preparation, of pregnancy, of getting ready for the Power that will happen at ground zero of the Christian faith: Easter.
Many people “give up” things. But why? To prove we can do it?
Part of the reason is to take power away from things which have crept into our lives—things which further the cancer of indifference.
Distractions. From who were were made to be. To our truer calling.
I have things I’m “giving up.” (And this year I’ve decided to up the ante; to make it hurt a bit.) But the reason I’m doing so isn’t to prove my own mettle. I’m doing it in an attempt to purge the indifference that slyly creeps into our lives, often masquerading as something polite, something acceptable.
Indifference is a master of disguise, entering the heart, planting roots in the service of ignorance, of ugliness, of hate, of doubt.
I’m trying to ready myself for the Cross and Resurrection of the One who is Walking Difference. Waking Difference: Jesus. We cannot live through Easter, trust, and not be changed.
It’s not about giving something up, it’s about getting something.
Love, education, beauty, life.
Indifference is not an option.
Thank you, Elie Wiesel.